Regus is a leading brand, hosting over 1,700 flexible working spaces within 600 cities worldwide, in 100 countries including the UK, USA, even Cambodia, Costa Rica & Dominican Republic to name but a few. As well as permanent office space & conferencing facilities, they offer “virtual office” packages, co-working and “drop down” business lounge access for people on the move, assisting businesses of any kind to work effectively in a way to suit them. No matter what your business needs are, Regus has got it covered, it’s the perfect alternative to coffee shop working or home office setups, should you (like myself) have trouble finding places to work whilst traveling.
I personally adore trying out new & quirky shared working spaces whilst on the move, but the safety with Regus is that you are near enough darn guaranteed to find a centre no matter where you are headed, without the added pressure of trying to find a standalone shared office in your chosen city or country.
Regus is a company that has been developing consistently since 1989 and they have a real “Yes/Can do” attitude that helps hectic business owners to focus on their work and not on the mundane office-based issues they may need to concern themselves about. This goes for everything from mail handling, internet connections, telephone answering & videoconferencing, printing and photocopying, even catering and setting up for meetings or conferences, their services are offered to enable businesses to be more focused.
By working alongside centre audits, each centre is designed to be at exactly the same standard as the next. This allows the traveling businesses to feel at home as soon as they walk through the door, no matter which one they need to walk through. It offers familiarity and the same attitude around the world and means that you don’t have to spend time adjusting within each new centre.
Setting The Scene:
There are two Regus centres in Cambridge, one situated in Histon and one on Cambourne Business Park, the latter being my local centre and was in fact, back in the day, one of my very first employers within the events & hospitality world, so it’s a no brainer that I would visit this one being literally on my doorstep.
“Regus Cambridge Cambourne” is a two storey building overlooking the main roundabout as you drive into the Business Park, overlooking a small pond and adjacent to the Cambourne nature reserve, it’s perfectly located for any business owners in the Cambridge area who do not wish to drive into the city itself.
It boasts amenities such as 24 hour CCTV for your safety & security, outdoor seating areas, high speed internet access and easy-to-connect wifi, disabled facilities and shower rooms (if you are a lunchtime jogger!) and even it’s own videoconferencing suite for your late night video calls.
This centre alone currently houses over 35 individual businesses and 7 meeting rooms of varying shapes and sizes, run by no more than 6 extremely friendly and professional team members, you are looked after as soon as you step foot through the revolving front door.
The Business Lounge At Cambridge (Cambourne):
This is a very light & airy space, situated towards the rear of the building and it overlooks the outside decking and pond area with plenty of natural light, combined with lamps and spotlights for darker days.
You can park yourself in one of two “Thinkpods” at one end of the lounge, which do look like some sort of futuristic car and are quite amusing to see at first glance. They are made up of a small desk and leather desk chair, curled up inside a small white booth with a blue perspex window for privacy. Inside the booth is a plug and internet connection (or you can use their free wifi whilst here) and a desk lamp, nothing simpler.
You can make the “Thinkpod” your own makeshift office for an hour or full a whole day, I’ve personally worked shorter and longer days in these and the seat is so comfortable you can sit here all day and even feel snoozy cocooned inside one of these.
If these don’t take your fancy, there is a high top desk with “breakfast bar” style stools, a working telephone to make outgoing landline calls and an Apple Mac available for public use, should you not have your laptop with you.
There are also 4 low leather armchairs with built in desk top to place your laptop on over your legs in the main lounge area. These are perfect for a quick email catch up or a chat with a fellow co-worker and they allow for more informal working if this is your style.
Sky News projects onto the large plasma TV on the far wall, placed on silent so as not to disturb workers, but subtitled to enable you to keep on top of the day’s news, as well as a spread of business magazines, both local and national to browse should you desire.
Facilities are basic, allowing you to help yourself throughout your working day. The kitchen area is a hop from the Business Lounge and offers complimentary tea, coffee, milk and chilled water. There is a constant supply of large white mugs and tall drinking glasses, it’s as if a “Washing up fairy” is constantly on the look out and she keeps the kitchen spotless at every opportune moment, it’s fantastic.
A vending machine sits quietly in the corner, should you be in need of a savoury or sweet snack to keep you going throughout your stay and it’s topped up once a week, so never looks empty – there’s nothing worse than a sorry-looking and half empty vending machine!
All so friendly and you can tell that they work well together, everything seems to work seamlessly from a visiting perspective and on the whole the centre looks spotless as you walk through the main reception and out to the rear.
If you have a question, nothing is too much effort to stop and listen to help you, even if they are in the middle of something. When I first walked into the centre, the girl who greeted me stood up and smiled, not something you see much of nowadays when entering a professional office environment like this, so it was a real added bonus to see. In fact, once I had been in 4 or 5 times, she had almost remembered my unique client number as she checked me in – how’s that for service?!
The Little Niggles:
The lounge is where the back door is situated and this door is used regularly throughout the busier lunch period. As a result, it makes the area very chilly during the winter, so I have started bringing a cardigan in to wrap up during the colder months. Otherwise, it really is the perfect place to concentrate and get on with things with no real distractions.
You are all here in one room together, there’s not really anywhere quiet to go to take a phone call, so once or twice, I’ve been sat next to somebody on a Skype call and they’ve spoken loudly and even had the person at the other end on loud speaker – put your headphones/mic on people, I’m trying to work!
The Little Extras:
On my second visit, the Centre Manager, Laura, popped down to see me as I was writing away and she asked how everything was. It was fine, no problems and we got chatting about the shared offices within the building, where some “one man bands” share a space/share the cost and she happily showed me around with a tour of the centre.
The really nice surprise was an offer to use one of the shared spaces for a day completely free of charge to see how I liked it, I’m never going to grumble at a freebie and will take them up on it when I get a full day in the centre.
My co-workers in the Business Lounge are usually very friendly, will always respond when I offer them a “good morning” and one or two of them have swapped business cards with me and we’ve had an interesting conversation or two. It’s always nice to meet new entrepreneurs and business owners, so do use a workspace such as this to network and have a natter for a minute or two in the kitchen whilst brewing a cup of tea – you just never know who you are going to meet!
Regus lives by the strapline “Work your way” and they are determined to support their clients in every way possible and this shows through each of the centres I have visited so far – there’s even a Regus centre at King’s Cross, which is MORE than handy for trips to London with time to kill before getting the train back home to Cambridge, it’s next on my list to visit!
In fact, I am wondering if there is a co-working etiquette guide to be pitched to the “head honchos” at Regus HQ….I wonder if they might be interested?!
Please note – Through a Facebook competition, I won a 12 month complimentary pass to all Regus Business Lounges, with no obligations attached to the giveaway. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this if I don’t like it, but I simply choose to share my thoughts with my readers, should I enjoy the experience or product in question. In this case, I have saved myself some pennies on hotel/coffee shop working and have produced some of my best work to date as a result of the peace & quiet of my local Regus centre. Any questions, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org