By Omoh Gabriel
Businessmen in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast are not favouravly disposed to discussing business at coffee shops and do not favour allocating space for such outfit. A research published business last week by Regus disclosed that Business men have spilled the beans on their attitude to coffee shop working.
It said that the bottom line for the average West African business man is that business and beverages don’t mix. Executives and business-owners in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast gave their views in a global study by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace. The office solutions company surveyed 26.000 businesses in more than 90 countries, including East, West, North and South Africa.
According to Regus “The small sample size in West Africa did not permit a definitive breakdown of regional attitudes. However, local reaction to study questionnaires from individual respondents was in line with the international response that laptops and lattes are unlikely to foster professionalism and productivity, said Joanne Bushell, VP Africa for Regus. Scepticism around the suitability of coffee shops as workplaces is in stark contrast to the endorsement given to professional business centres in earlier Regus research. That survey found 64% of businesspeople turn to professional business centres when looking for a business-like, productive environment.
Bushell noted: “Some international pundits claim there’s a trend to coffee shop working, but West African businesspeople are not sweet on the idea.” African respondents side with their global peers by highlighting big drawbacks, including. Privacy of documents and conversations might be compromised (mentioned by 78% of international respondents) having to look after belongings at all times (74%) Noisy customers disturb you and impact productivity (67%) Background chatter disturbs phone calls (65%) Lack of office facilities is a disadvantage (63%) What’s more, 54% of respondents said coffees shops were a no-go area for client meetings. Regus has a high profile in West Africa thanks to the world-class facilities provided by its office centres in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast.
In Nigeria, the office solutions company operates business centres in Abuja’s central business district, the NNPC Mulliner Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos and in Portharcort, Trans Amadi. In Ghana, Regus has facilities at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra on Independence Avenue, Accra, and at the Accra Roman Ridge business centre. In Ivory Coast, Regus has a business centre in Abidjan, Lagune and in Senegal its offices are in Dakar. “A further concern in Africa like in other countries of the world,” said Bushell, “is the high level of data security demanded not only by multinationals but by local businesses as well. “Multinational business accounts for about 60% of our African client-base. Coffee shop working is not an option when strict data security protocols must be observed.
“Regus business centres are served by sophisticated computer systems with advanced security features to ensure data integrity.” Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are also strongly represented in Regus’ African client mix. African research by Regus highlights the importance of image to these companies. Bushell added: “A professional setting with access to modern office technology is vital, as is high productivity. Downtime caused by a coffee shop power failure can be a big problem.” For this reason, Regus invests in power generators that operate off the local electricity grid. This commitment to 24/7 uptime is a standard feature of Regus service across Africa.