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RISMEDIA, April 6, 2009-As recession-battered companies look to save money on real estate costs, a growing number of businesses are equipping their employees with Blackberry smartphones and laptops and moving them out of the main office as a way of reducing expenses. The Regus Group, one of the leading global providers of workplace solutions, is reporting an increase in virtual office contracts due in part to this growing corporate trend.”During these challenging economic times, employers are embracing flexible workplace practices as a key business strategy,” said Regus Group CEO Mark Dixon. “Companies have created a new band of mobile workers who don’t need a full-time office but require a professional environment and support services on-demand. Our virtual office program is an ideal solution for this type of worker and is proving popular with businesses eager to reduce facilities cost.”

Striking a Balance between Home and Office

To advance the process, employers are helping workers set up home offices and are securing virtual office locations for them to use instead of heading to the main office. As a result, companies are able to shed costly office space and employees are realizing substantial savings on commuting costs and improved productivity.

In addition to basic, but necessary, office equipment like fax machines and copiers, virtual office users have access to furnished offices, meeting rooms, business lounges and videoconferencing studios. They also have the opportunity to network with other professionals in a business environment quelling the fear of isolation as they adjust to a new work style.

Based on Regus calculations, companies can save up to 60% to 80% on their real estate costs by implementing flexible workplace strategies. Virtual offices are playing a major role in how businesses support employee needs. Consequently, Regus reports a trend of increasing month-on-month demand for the product.

Virtually There – Businesses Test Markets with Minimal Risk

While virtual offices benefit companies looking to trim property expenses, they also serve as a resource for businesses interested in testing new markets without taking on additional costs and risk.

CAPCO Health Group, Inc. a provider of healthcare services in the North American medical insurance community has been a Toronto-based Regus client since 2000 and is using virtual offices to pursue new business opportunities.

“For as little as a few hundred dollars a month, virtual offices allow us to move into additional markets such as Mexico and Central America,” said Ernie Gershon, President and COO of CAPCO.

“The services, along with the office and meeting space we use, vary depending on the market and our ever-changing needs.

Establishing a presence with virtual offices allows businesses to avoid costly upfront capital expenditures and minimize their risk.

“Second to payroll, real estate is a company’s second largest fixed expense. Increasingly, real estate expenses will come down for businesses who adopt flexible working practices. This newly-saved capital can be re-directed back into the business,” said Dixon.

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