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Coworking becomes co-studying as the city’s students are given free access to Regus and Spaces locations
For IWG’s Regus brand, being part of the local community is an important factor when it comes to how the company sees its role in a wider context. All around the world, Regus Centres aim to provide a warm welcome to companies, individuals and start-ups – and, in Belgium, to students too. Until the end of January, flexible working in Brussels has taken on a distinctly academic air as the city’s scholars have been invited to use the capital’s 15 Regus (and Spaces) locations to prepare for their upcoming exams – entirely free.
As universities around the world embrace the flexible-working model espoused by Regus, providing “co-studying” for students is the logical extension of a trend that shows no signs of slowing down – after all, today’s students will soon be entering the workforce. “The last time we did this was a great success, which is why we’ve decided to repeat the initiative,” says IWG Belgium’s managing director William Willems. “We support students by allowing them to study in one of our coworking spaces; as the coworkers of tomorrow, it is also an opportunity for them to discover our flexible workspaces,” he adds.
As far as student flexspace in Brussels goes, the Regus locations are a class apart. Not only are coffee, tea, water and super-fast Wi-Fi all free, but there’s also the option to base yourself in a beautiful Art Deco building or an address that’s two minutes from a train station. From group get-together to solitary study, with 15 locations to choose from there’s something to suit everyone. Centres are available between 9am and 5pm every day of the week, and are accessed on presentation of a valid student ID.
Lode Godderis, a professor at KU Leuven who specialises in environment and health, believes that co-studying is a positive force for exam preparation that offers many of the same benefits that coworking in Brussels bestows: “Co-studying has many advantages. Not only are students less distracted by social and other media, but they can also relax during breaks with the other students there,” he says. It helps for students to be in a social (yet focussed) environment too: “In addition, putting some distance – even temporarily – from their desks is also very important for their mental balance,” he states. “Studying together gives students a structure, a fixed pattern and social control that allows them to focus better.”
As the world of work increasingly looks towards coworking and flexible-office solutions to replace the traditional HQ, Belgium’s learning institutions and Regus locations are together showing that new working models don’t have to be restricted to professional life – they can be part of university culture too.