'Business lounges' set to open in Shell petrol stations

The serviced office group Regus has struck a deal with the oil giant Shell that could see its business lounges opened on petrol forecourts across Europe.

Targeting business people on the road, the first outlet has opened at a Shell station near Paris. It means that workers can take advantage of fast internet access, copy documents or arrange courier deliveries at the same time as filling up on fuel.

Regus already has 1,200 offices in 550 cities, but this agreement helps to expand its reach across the transport network. Its business stations are being used by entrepreneurs as a base to start up new ventures, as well as larger firms that have switched some of their staff to mobile working to save money.

"This alliance allows Shell and Regus as market leaders in their respective fields to come together to better serve our customers," said Istvan Kapitany, Shell's vice-president of retail in Europe.

Mark Dixon, founder and chief executive of Regus, believes the move will cater for workers on the move who still need a place to draw breath. "Though they communicate and work using smartphones, tablets and laptops, they miss access to a professional place to work, meet or think where there is easy access to state-of-the-art business facilities," he said. "By opening Regus business lounges at motorway stations, Shell and Regus are bringing vibrant business hubs right to the roadside."

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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