Celia Donne is global operations programme director at Regus, where she oversees operations, managing a wide range of projects and setting standards and processes globally. Prior to joining Regus, she worked for WH Smith on their Retail Development graduate programme. Celia studied for a degree in History and French at the University of Sussex and is a fluent French speaker alongside her native English.
“…The benefits of a more flexible approach to work are proven – both in terms of productivity and employee wellbeing. In our recent survey, 74% of UK businesses believe that flexible working makes employees more productive…”
Career to date
I started my career at WH Smith where I was trained in a variety of departments as part of their development training programme, from marketing, to sales, to people management. I discovered that managing people was my favourite aspect of the work and moved to Regus as an assistant manager of a centre as I felt I would be able to combine a new sector with managing a team but also with an opportunity to use my languages.
Running a centre is an operational (and sales / account management) based role, ensuring that standards are met, customers are happy and facilities are well maintained. From here I moved to managing an area, then a region and then finally into purely operational director roles, firstly in the UK and then globally. The thing that interested and still interests me about operational roles are the wide variation of tasks – my work can cover reviewing the dress code standards to training our global teams to rolling out new technology throughout our global network of 3000 centres.
Day to day
Daily I work on various projects with my team to simplify the way in which the centres work, define standards and input into any training requirements we might identify. Additionally we help define the operating model globally and create and update tools to support those roles. My team also oversees the process of acquisition integration – bringing an acquired company over to our systems and processes whilst learning about other ways of working from the business we have bought.
How agile working methods have evolved in recent years and why
The days of the commute to a fixed hours, fixed office job are numbered. Today’s workers don’t see flexible working as a perk – they are beginning to expect this level of freedom from employers.
Our workplaces typically include a variety of options, from drop-in desks, to co-working space, to more private meeting rooms that can be hired by the hour. Different set-ups suit different individuals and businesses. The point is, this workspace is widely available and the number of sites is expanding fast. We now have over 300 centres in the UK alone.
Benefits of agile working for organisations of all sizes
For entrepreneurs and smaller businesses, agile working allows these organisations to get established without the need to commit to expensive long-term leases. Workspace can be flexed up or down depending on business requirements. For larger enterprises, agile working allows the swift and seamless expansion into new territories. Additionally, for business of all sizes, taking a flexible approach means that the recruitment talent pool can widen – organisations are not restricted to hiring individuals within commuting distance of a main office.
The mind set of businesses needs to adapt. Of course, many companies will still require a central HQ or regional hub. But enabling individuals to work outside of this main office will require leaders to develop managerial strategies that focus on output and results rather than presenteeism and hours at the desk.
Regus’ whole business model is geared towards making the agile working option as straightforward as possible for businesses. Many organisations are rightly concerned about the issues surrounding working from home – distractions are commonplace, and often the home set-up is not conducive to productivity. Regus workspace provides a professional environment that enables employees to turn-up, plug in and get going.
The benefits of a more flexible approach to work are proven – both in terms of productivity and employee wellbeing. In our recent survey, 74% of UK businesses believe that flexible working makes employees more productive. Employees welcome more control over their working day, particularly given the stresses and expense of commuting. Keeping talented people happy and engaged is a key challenge for today’s businesses.
On the horizon
We continue to work on improving the operations of our business and centres – working towards ever simpler administration and the removal of unnecessary tasks to ensure our teams can spend even more of their time delivering great customer service.
We’re also working towards an ever more flexible model for our team members, part time working, job shares and flexible hours to cover the opening hours of our centres whilst giving them the ability to work in different formats other than full time. In addition we continue to evolve our product range and are rolling out the Open Co-working package that we now offer globally, allowing customer to buy community workspace on a part time to a full time basis to suit their needs.