How we do business: Impex Freight Services

If you need to get something from A to B, Nick Hammond is your man. As operations manager and co-director at Impex Freight Services, he works from a Regus office outside London, importing healthcare goods for the UK’s National Health Service, exporting British steel and forwarding freight for TNT Express


Paint us a picture of your Regus office space

We use an average-sized office in Welwyn Garden City. We have four desks and four members of staff, which is nice and neat. It’s a world away from our old office, in a decrepit building in North London, with one loo shared between 30 employees. In contrast, Hertfordshire is a very countrified part of the UK, so I can see lots of trees when I look out of the window. It’s very peaceful.

For you, a great workspace is…

Clean and comfortable. It’s where I spend nine hours a day – so much of my life – so it needs to be pleasant. When I get to the office each morning, it’s like arriving at a very nice hotel. The decor, while minimal, feels luxurious, and the facilities create a professional atmosphere. It gives a good impression to any suppliers or clients we invite for meetings.

What does a freight company need from its office?

You wouldn’t believe the amount of paperwork we have. While more of our work is becoming digital, we still have a lot of physical literature, including logbooks, which are really important. It wouldn’t work for us to jump in and out of different offices and desks. We need somewhere more permanent.

What has been the key benefit of flexible office space?

Our business is driven by email, so having a good broadband connection and telephone line included was a real plus. An unexpected benefit has been the social element to shared office space. The other people in the building have become like colleagues. While you don’t sit in the same office, you do bump into each other in the shared areas and have a chat. It makes the workday a bit more enjoyable.

What has a flexible work location allowed you to do that otherwise wouldn’t be possible?

It’s given me the opportunity to explore a new area. Although I’d lived locally for seven years, I wasn’t too familiar with this part of town. It surprised me how much industry there is here – including companies using flexible office space like us. Since moving into the office, we’ve actually gained a few new local clients and I’ve set up several meetings for this year, which I hope will lead to more work.

Impex Freight Services transports cargo to and from any worldwide destination by land, sea and air


How has technology changed the way you do business?

When I joined the company 11 years ago it was still a world of fax machines. I recently came across some old compliment slips that even listed a Telex number. You forget how much things have moved on. Now, we do almost everything via email and the cloud has revolutionised the way we do business. If the car breaks down or we’re snowed in, we can log in to work remotely. It still makes me smile: if you told me 10 years ago that I could ship 10 tonnes of steel using my iPhone while I sit in bed with a cup of tea, I wouldn’t have believed you.

What do flexible and remote working mean to you?

They’re the future. If I decided I wanted to cash in my chips and move abroad, I could still keep this office and it would be business as usual. I was attracted to that flexibility when we first started using Regus. As long as I have broadband and a phone line I could be living in Mongolia. That said, I do actually enjoy being in the office. It helps focus the mind.

Which tools do you use to keep you connected on the go?

Office 365 Microsoft is great, as you can access it from anywhere. It’s the same with Sage, for payments, which is cloud-based.

What determines success or failure?

Freight is a very competitive market, and naturally that means it’s price-driven. Customers may be tempted to save a few pounds by choosing the cheapest option, but you really do get what you pay for. We’re selling people confidence as much as we’re selling a service. If we say we’ll do something, then we do it. If the customer feels they can rely on you, they’ll come back time and time again.