Serviced office group Regus has teamed up with oil giant Shell to launch a trial network of business lounges on petrol forecourts across Europe.
Aimed at the increasing number of mobile workers, the open plan lounges will offer drivers the use of fast internet facilities, video conferencing, printing, fax and scanning services, allowing them to catch up on work tasks at the same time as filling up with fuel.
Prices are expected to start at €5 (around £4) for a drop-in visit and customers will be able to buy passes at Shell checkouts.
The first lounge has already opened at a Shell petrol station south west of Paris and more are expected to be rolled-out across Europe in the next 12 months. A Regus spokeswoman was unable to confirm a launch date for the UK but said the firm was “currently seeking opportunities” nationwide.
Forum of Private Business spokesman Robert Downes said that the lounges would appeal to small firms who couldn’t afford office space as well as workers on the go.
“With wi-fi allowing users to access their emails and use the internet, even video conferencing, this is going to make life easier for staff on the move,” he said.
“It certainly beats a motorway service station or a café for doing business with clients on a face-to-face basis and will look and feel more professional.”
Regus chief executive Mark Dixon called the new lounges “vibrant business hubs at the roadside” that would offer a quiet place to think and work.
“Research shows there are around 1 billion mobile workers globally,” said Dixon “Though they communicate and work using smartphones, tablets and laptops, they miss access to a professional place to work with state-of-the-art business facilities.”