When I first decided to embark on this mobile working experiment I immediately thought to reach out to The Regus Group. After all, they are the world’s largest provider of on-demand workspace solutions. To my knowledge, they also have the most locations in London. So I knew that no matter what, I could always find a place to touch down.
Regus has a program called Businessworld which gives mobile workers, and entrepreneurs not quite ready for a full time office commitment, access to workspace on-demand. There are various levels of the program with different rates that I won’t go into on this blog post, but for my experiment I used the 1 month gold card. This gave me free access to any Regus business lounge, and I could upgrade to a private touchdown office at a discounted rate pending availability. Perfect!
Since I worked from a business lounge last week, I decided my first Regus ‘customer experience’ would be in a private office. (I say my first ‘customer experience’ because I was a Regus employee several years ago). I chose a day where I already had several phone calls scheduled and reserved an office in their Trafalgar Square location. I really liked the Trafalgar Square area when I worked from a coffee shop previously, and it’s not far from my wife’s office. The walk along the River Thames and passing British Parliament and Westminster Abbey en route to the office certainly didn’t sway my decision. (Sarcasm)
When I arrived in the morning I expected to sign in at the main lobby reception desk, and then take the elevator to the Regus floor. To my surprise, the receptionist in the main lobby was a Regus employee. Stop the presses! Regus occupies the entire building? I couldn’t believe it.
The receptionist looked up my reservation and took me to my office for the day on the 5th floor. It was a large office with 6 workstations, but I had it all to myself, and it was close to the break room. Not that I planned on peering out the window much, but the view of Trafalgar Square was a bonus.
While my laptop was powering on, I went to the break room for a cup of coffee. It was instant coffee, which I’m used to drinking from my flat. Though no one offered to bring me coffee like in my previous blog post, someone from the Regus team did call to check on me, which I was grateful for. I’m a low maintenance customer and don’t need to be spoiled. But I do need fast internet and the wifi just wasn’t fast enough. I asked for a wired connection to the internet, and within two minutes I was connected. That did it!
The privacy was nice, probably the most valuable part of the experience. I could talk on my soft phone through my laptop without ear buds and hands free, allowing me to take notes and increase my productivity. I had a Facetime session with my business partner and several conference calls. With the exception of working from the flat, this was my most productive day yet. It was like working from my office back in DC.
The thing about touchdown offices to consider is, usually these are the offices that are vacant at any given location. The office provider makes them available for mobile workers to use on-demand. But if there is someone with a permanent space requirement in the building, you may be asked to pause your work for a few minutes while they show your office to the interested party. This occurred during my visit. I didn’t mind at all, especially since the receptionist let me know in advance, asked my permission and it really only took two minutes. But if you’re having a meeting with another person, you may want to confirm this kind of interruption won’t take place.
My first experience as a Regus customer was a good one. Using a private touchdown office was a great decision.
Since I have the Businessworld card, my next stop will be a Regus business lounge…
Have you used a touchdown office before? Was it with Regus or someone else? What is your feedback?