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.
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.
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.
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.
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