The more the knowledge workers detach themselves from servers and hardwired IT infrastructure, the more working outside the formal office location becomes an option and legions of laptop-toting techies at coffee shops or telecommuting from home are a growing trend. But a hissing espresso machine or barking dog in the background don’t make the most professional impression on a conference call or the best environment for deep thinking. What are the alternatives for the technology professional on the go?
One option is a co-working space or rental office. Regus bills itself as the “world largest provider of flexible workspaces” and has 2000 office locations in more than 100 countries, 750 cities. While the focus is on rental offices and meeting spaces, they also have a co-working offer: Businessworld!
Many of their office locations have a business lounge, typically a small area of work pods near the lobby, that is available on a first-come-first-serve basis to members of their Businessworld program. You get a small cubicle with internet access, free coffee & tea, as well as access to their office services, offices and meeting rooms for a fee.
I have worked in a number of Regus locations and found the space sufficient for work on a laptop, the internet has always been fast and reliable, even in developing countries where fast internet is not a given. The free coffee is a nice treat. Having access to private offices or meeting rooms, for example for a WebEx presentation or client meeting, makes Businessworld a viable option for independent contractors or small businesses.
There are different membership levels at different price points. Starting at the Gold level, you have unlimited walk-in access to the Business Lounges and cafes. The Platinum and Platinum Plus level give you open or private office space. You can tailor the access to a specific country or as a global membership, as well as to defined numbers of days or unlimited usage. That degree of flexibility allows you to adjust to changing travel needs or a growing business.
I found the Regus Businessworld membership a great tool for the mobile professional, eliminating the need to rent a permanent office and offering a more professional environment than a coffee shop or home office.
If you want to try it out, Regus offers memberships with partners like airlines or hotel chains. For example, in partnership with United, Regus offers a 12 month Businessworld Preferred membership for MileagePlus members, that is a “Blue” membership, plus 15 free lounge visits anywhere worldwide and two guest passes. You can sign up below, it’s a great way to try the Business Lounge out for free:
There have been other partnerships offering free memberships, found in a quick web search, your mileage may vary.