Be passionate in what you do
Published on: Monday, August 05, 2019

THE THOUGHTS and view of International Workspace Group (IWG) country head of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Vijayakumar Tangarasan (pic). 

IWG plc was created in 2016 as the holding group for different flexible workspace providers including Regus and Spaces.  

Regus opened its first centre in Malaysia in 2005, pioneering the co-working landscape in the country. 

Regus is also the world’s largest and leading workspace provider with an unparalleled global network of offices, co-working and meeting spaces in every major city in the world. 

Currently, there are 34 Regus centres in Malaysia, and one in Brunei

 

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

My family is the pillar of my strength. Their advice and support has brought me to where I am today. 

My parents have always taught me to respect and treat everyone the same, regardless of what position, age, race, education, and financial background they come from. 

My dad’s greatest advice on earning the trust and respect of your peers and staff is to treat and talked to. 

As a leader, this has helped me to connect with people effectively and together, strive to achieve our desired results.

 

How do you think the industry you are in will evolve in the future?

The concept of co-working spaces has evolved from just providing a convenient and affordable alternative for young professionals and entrepreneurs, as many bigger businesses have recognised  the commercial and economic opportunities in this sector. 

Companies today are increasingly aware of the overall benefits of allowing their staff to work flexibly. 

As connected technology becomes more advanced and reliable for people who work remotely, flexible working options will soon become the norm and co-working spaces will become more bespoke, due to the fact it has become increasingly costly for organisations to rent or own real estate to establish their own office.

 

What advice can you offer those looking to start their career/own business?

I strongly believe that you need to be passionate in what you do. 

Whether it is a new career or starting a new business, you need to enjoy the journey that you are going to embark on. 

Passion will be a key factor in achieving goals. 

You need to be mentally strong, focused and committed to overcome the challenges you will face. 

Secondly, don’t be too greedy – any start-ups, especially in a particular business or industry, you may lose your focus if you are involved in too many start-ups with various businesses/industries. 

Finally, work with or seek advice from people who have knowledge and experience in the business and industry you want to start in.

 

We all know about the industrial revolution, are we in for a technological revolution? 

Your thoughts.

Yes. The signs are clear – borders no longer divide regions thanks to the internet of things and this has led to a work culture that prioritises productivity. 

At Regus, we have embraced this culture and are more than capable of providing this experience to our customers.

Within the office in the future, we see technology to be capable of helping employees adapt spaces to their individual requirements, from lighting to temperature and even air quality. 

The boom in artificial intelligence (AI) and its subfield, machine learning (ML), means that many tasks will soon be automated and result in a shift in the type of work people will do. 

Even our call centres have embraced technology by integrating AI systems that answer customer queries efficiently and quickly.

 

What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?

IWG is leading the workspace revolution globally and we aim to become the leading workspace provider in Malaysia in the next few years – offering customers a differentiated workspace experience through Regus, Spaces, HQ, Signature and No.18. 

We wish to introduce new technologies and co-working space concepts to all walks of life (start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, multinational corporations, corporate accounts) in Malaysia.

I want to extend our network beyond the major cities in the country to tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well, so that every working population in Malaysia would be able to access our network. 

My aim is to improve our occupancy rate to 85pc throughout the nation and open 200 centres in the next five years.

 

Best piece of advice you ever received on your career?

“Great things in business are never done by one person. 

They’re done by a team of people”. This quote by Steve Jobs is what I have lived by throughout my entire career. 

People are the key recipe to success – you will succeed instantaneously if you bet on people rather than strategies. 

Apart from that, the advice I received from my mom in my first year of college has fuelled my successful career in the supply chain logistics industry and workspace enterprise. 

She told me to never stop believing and never stop trying to achieve greater heights, even if things were impossible.

 

How do you stay abreast of issues affecting your industry?

Over the past few years, Malaysia has seen a sudden spike in co-working spaces and the market is quickly becoming oversaturated. 

Regus, one of IWG’s iconic brands, stands out as a pioneer in Malaysia with over 10 years of capabilities in providing flexible working to Malaysians, and our long-standing experience has taught us what our customers want from workspaces to match their unique business goals, people and aspirations.

What we seek to do differently here is that we constantly engage our customers and to hear of their changing needs for a conducive workspace environment. 

Our customers consist of experts from various industries, and this allows us to receive feedback and implement changes that would benefit everyone. 

Put simply, engaging our customers in a personal manner is a great way to stay on top of our game.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced? And what did you learn from it?

When I took up the job at IWG, I was tasked to grow the business from six centres in two cities and build a widespread network across Malaysia. 

Since the concept of flexible and shared workspace was not yet well-known in Malaysia, I had to convince businesses of this new way of working and its benefits. 

I also had to build a capable and committed team to drive this plan and work with brokers and developers to build this network. 

The sheer hard work, perseverance, close teamwork drove success along the way. In the last six years, we grew from six centres in two cities to 34 centres in five cities.

 

What man-made innovation confounds you? Why?

The internet. It drives digital technology and economy, it has changed the way we conduct our businesses, and it has transformed the logistics, hotel and real estate fields, such as Airbnb, Grab, Uber and now IWG.

 

What are the top three factors you would attribute your success to?

My entire family – for their advice, support, and tolerance. 

They gave the space for me to focus on my work and I thank them for being so understanding in times where I have been away for days and spending late nights at work.

My present and past team. They have been with me through good and difficult times, collectively supporting and working with me to deliver the results that we want. 

The commitment and loyalty they have shown is unbelievable, and it is their ideas and actions that has put me in the position I am in today.

Passion for success has motivated me ever since I was a young boy. 

If I were given a task to complete, I will commit a 100pc to it and will not step aside from my responsibility until I have achieved the desired results. 

My personal traits of self-discipline, loyalty, integrity, responsibility, respectfulness and optimism have shaped my career and life. – The Sun





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