Regus Businessworld Experiences

lounge photo

This is a panoramic view of a lounge in chicago

Working from home really means working from the road. Yes, there are times that home means home but more often it means hotels and coffee shops. Even simple commuter trips from the suburbs where I live to downtown Chicago tends to leave gaps in my day… time between customer appointments, time waiting for the train, etc. Unfortunately, I struggle to find a place to work effectively in these moments. Most days I end up buying coffee so I feel ok about sitting in a coffee shop and using their wifi. The hard part is trying to ignore all the noise and conversations around me.

As I joined JAMF and returned to a home office, I decided to find better ways to work away from home. After looking at a variety of options, I decided to give the Regus Businessworld Gold membership a try. Regus has 1500 locations in 600 cities in 100 countries and they all have a lounge with wifi and free coffee and tea. The four membership levels give different types of access. I chose the Gold level since it gives unlimited access to the lounges as well as the ability to reserve offices and meeting rooms at discounted rates.

I mostly use the lounges but I’ve already used (and paid extra for) private day offices so I could host webex-based demos and guided setups. Why pay extra for access to the day offices rather than do it when I’m at home? It would have meant saying “no” to a customer. For example, I was recently a part of a multi-customer event in Chicago that ran from 8-11am, I planned to return home on an 11:30 train getting me in my office by 12:30, and then I had a guided install scheduled from 1-2pm. When we got done with the Apple event, two customers wanted to chat about their specific environments and I was also invited to lunch with a partner to figure out how to work more closely.

Without the option of a day office at a nearby Regus, I would have had to either say no to the briefing customers or reschedule the install. I decided to reserve an office from 12:30-2:30 so that I could say yes to all customers. This decision lead to some great discussions and generated two solid leads from the briefing participants.

Facilities

It seems that Regus buys/leases office space in mostly newer buildings around the country. Most that I’ve visited have modern decorations and comfortable furniture. The best analogy is that of an airline frequent flyer lounge. Like those, the facilities vary by location. The unit closest to my house has a lounge for about a dozen people and offers four different seating styles ranging from simple chairs with side table space on up to their business pods which are an interesting desk… a modern study carrel. Some facilities are more modern and spacious than others. I have  visited one or two with very small lounges, but access to the lounge also means access to the kitchen which includes other seating or stand up counter areas. It also includes free coffee/tea pods.

Regus Lounge and meeting room

The white pods are sitting in front of a meeting room in this Chicago Regus facility

The offices tend to be a simple desk and two guest chairs. Some have been window offices but most were internal offices. One had offices larger than my master bedroom. The meeting rooms vary in size with smaller ones for about six people up to larger ones for 10-12. The staff will gladly arrange for snacks/meals for your guests.The facilities are generally very well run by professional, personable people. One facility I visited was run by a woman who had been there fourteen years! Other customers are generally very nice and there for similar reasons so they are typically very nice.

Negatives

I didn’t expect it, but it’s sometime too quiet. I’ve been in locations that feel more like a library which makes me hesitant to use my phone. I certainly don’t feel right hosting a webex since I’d be talking for most of an hour.

The other issue is the network. It’s been fast at all the locations, but it is set up to restrict bonjour traffic. That means it’s harder to use Reflector or an Apple TV in their their space.

Costs

Even within the Businessworld Gold membership, they have options for local, National, and International access for $20, $30, or $50 a month. Even though I’ll use this mostly in Chicago where there are 36 centers, I opted for the $30/month access so I could use the program in wherever city I visit. Interestingly, I later found that Tripit Pro members get a FREE year of Businessworld Gold (I found that at https://www.tripit.com/account/listProAlerts ). Yes, I now have two memberships which I’ll try to share with others as I travel with them.

For full details on Regus Office Space and the Businessworld membership, visit: http://www.regus.com/products/businessworld-membership/index.aspx

 

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2 Responses to Regus Businessworld Experiences

  1. Erin Bernau says:

    Hi Mike! We love seeing you when you visit our Business Lounge in Schaumburg. I am glad I could help you get started with Regus and change the way you work. While I am certain the Woodfield Preserve location in Schaumburg is not the “library” of which you speak, I hope you know you would not bother anyone by making phone calls in our lounges. They are meant for conducting business, and we want to you to be successful. Thank you again for sharing your experience. See you soon!

    • mike says:

      Thanks for the comment Erin and thanks for your help along the way.

      I wish I could say that the Woodfield Preserve location was excluded from that comment, but it is where I first formed that impression. I remember asking the staff about the social norms concerning calls from there and got a lukewarm response… essentially saying the occasional, short calls were ok but please don’t bother anyone by being loud or on the phone for too long. They also suggested I consider using a pod if I was going to have an extended conversation. That is about what I expected and that is the attitude I’ve taken to other locations. Seams reasonable considering the average volume of the lounges.

      What solidified the feeling that the lounges were areas for no more than hushed tones came when visiting a different location. When I took a call, I talked quietly for a couple of minutes but then started getting looks from the staff. When I was done, I went up to the desk and apologized if I was too loud. Their response was pleasant but made it clear that if I wanted to be on the phone, they would gladly set me up with a day office.

      So, I’m now hesitant about phones. Most of the time it’s a non issue since I’m just staying for an hour our less and I can defer my calls. I’ve twice rented a day office when I host hour-long webex-based meetings or have longer conference calls where I need to actively participate and don’t want to worry about bothering others. Of course, all of this is mute when I’m at any of the Schaumburg locations that are close enough to just head home and make my calls from there.

      Last week I saw the option of a “day campus” alongside (and cheeper than) a “day office” but I can’t find details about that term online. My assumption is that it is the idea of a hot desk or shared offices. I’d love to talk with you about that to see if it might be a better fit for when I need some time on the phone/webex.

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