Working from home is great. No commute, work anytime you like and wear anything you want. Then again, there are distractions, and it’s easy not to get anything done at home. So, when working from home, I have often wondered if it would be better to have a flex office somewhere or just a flex desk in a shared office space. Especially on those days where I have 2 meetings in the city and end up trying to get work done in a place like Starbucks, Costa or Eat in between.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to try it out last week when I was offered a day at a Regus shared office in London.
It got off to a good start. I dressed in office attire, and joined the commuters right after school drop-off. I felt really professional travelling in, reading my morning newspaper and being part of that world of work that I have said goodbye to when I started working from home many years ago. Nice to be back.
The building was only one tube stop from Waterloo, and it was only a matter of minutes before I had reached the Regus building. Great commute.
Settling into my Shared Office
Reception staff were kind and efficient and quickly showed me to my office, explaining all practicalities on the way. I installed myself in my cubicle, and got down to work.
I loved having everything there: the desk, the set of plugholes for my equipment and even an in tray and a pencil holder. It all looked and felt very professional and efficient, unlike the invariably cluttered desk I use when working from home.
There was nothing there to distract me, and I was surrounded by people who were all working too, so it should have helped me to get lots done quickly. In reality though, it took me a while to get settled in. It’s like that first day in the office. All your colleagues look really busy and you are still wondering where on earth to start, how to get the coffee machine working and who best to ask where the loo is.
When I had just got my coffee, a working wifi, and everything I needed dug up from my bag my guest had already arrived.
Receiving Guests in a Shared Office
I chose a day on which I also had an external appointment, so I could receive them in a professional environment. It worked brilliantly. I offered them a choice of coffees, teas and water (all complimentary with the Regus booking) and we found some lovely comfy chairs with a view over London for our chat. When we were done I could even offer her a place in my room to finish some work, as guests are allowed to share the room with you.
Get Organised in a Shared Office
Now that I felt more settled the afternoon went by quickly and I did get lots of work done. That’s also when I learned that if I want to do this more often I need to get organised, as it turned out I didn’t have access to some key documents I needed.
It was great to have a private desk for work that required focus and concentration, and for listening to a webinar (forgot my headphones). I love being part of the buzz in an office too though, so for the last hour I chose to work on the larger, shared desks, and that worked very well.
On the way home I reflected it had been a productive day in the office. Unfortunately that’s when the trains were delayed and I was late for school pick-up. Ah yes, I had been too optimistic and forgot I used to allow some extra time when I still did commute and had to make it home in time for pick-up.
Working from Home – Is it Better?
I can definitely recommend working in a shared office, as a change from working from home. It’s ideal for receiving clients, a great place to work in-between appointments and there are no distractions.
Having a choice of meeting rooms, shared space, private offices and meeting booths offers all you need. If you only do it once, there’s not much benefit to it, but if you do it regularly you will get organised and it will be a valuable addition to your work-life.
I would definitely do it again. Thank you Regus.
Tips for working in a shared office, and on the go
- Ensure you have access to all your mailboxes, ideally from all your mobile devices
- Build a filing system in a shared place such as Dropbox
- Bring a document with your passwords (e.g. saved in your dropbox (or similar) or on your mobile devices)
- Ensure you have contact details of clients all stored, and with you
- Remember to carry auxiliary items such as phone charger, headphones, and laptop cables
- Allow for train delays
Where to find shared offices, or hub near you
- Regus – Co-Working Space, Day Office, Meeting Rooms in London and throughout the UK at strategic locations
- Hubworking – Pay as you go meeting rooms, London (Liverpool Street, Victoria, Monument)
- Jelly UK – Brings homeworkers, free-lancers and entrepreneurs together in a co-working space, across the UK
- The Thinking Bus, Farnham – affordable flexible workspaces and creche
- The Third Door, London, Putney, SW18 – flexible workspaces, meeting rooms and on-site nursery
- The Hub, London, Islington – office space for social entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups, with 30 co-working spaces
- Near Desk – you become a member and have access to many co-working spaces in London, the South-West and Home Counties
- Mozilla Space London, WC2N – Open work environments aimed at hackers and coders
- Skyline offices, London – Concierge Service that helps you find suitable business space and then run it