I think I need to fire myself. Or at least, hand the HR function of my business over to someone else. I’m a terrible boss. I will tell you why shortly but first a little context.
4th October 2016 – Swanky pants
Today I am working from a newly refurbished Regus office on Fountain Street, Manchester. I’m in the business lounge, working in a ‘think pod’ that makes me feel like I could be flying first class to an exotic location, only this seat doesn’t fully recline and there’s no champagne. There is, however, excellent WiFi, privacy and space.
To my left are five people from the same organisation. They’re seated around a large table able to chat to one another, take phone calls and work collaboratively. There’s a productive buzz about them. It’s somewhat distracting for two reasons: 1) their productivity is fascinating and 2) they’re talking…
Through the glass wall in front of me is a galley kitchen in shades of dark grey and white. Turquoise is the accent colour of choice. It’s smart and corporate. There is little natural light.
Software and sales.
That’s what it reminds me of. Probably because the people to my left are in tech and I used to work in an office in London that had a similar vibe…or maybe it was similar lighting. We sold software.
But here I am. Out of my home office and working in a space dedicated to location independent business professionals. Because that’s what we are (what we must be) if we’re working here, untied from the shackles of traditional office space.
Why here, why now?
I’m working here today because Regus asked me to. In return for capturing my experience on this blog, I get to check out this brand new business lounge and tour the facilities. Thank you, Regus!
Jade greeted me today and she was great. She gave me a tour, made me a coffee and sorted my Wi-Fi in super quick time. She’s worked for Regus for several years, working her way up from Receptionist to Community Manager. They’re clearly looking after her (and if they not, they should be. She’s fab!)
Regus offer a range of office solutions including window office, internal office, co-working and virtual office. If you’re curious about the space check out their packages here. During the tour, Jade explained how the building was being done up. She also seemed to know every member by name which startled and impressed me. The team here are super friendly and accommodating and when the renovations are complete, Regus will have a building to match the quality of their staff.
The upside of Regus Fountain Street
- The best staff – friendly and accommodating.
- Clean facilities – a lunchtime clean team were on hand.
- Great Wi-Fi – I reckon the software crew were using up considerable bandwidth and it spluttered not once.
- Friendly atmosphere – the techies were offering to make me coffee by the end of the day. It was easy to connect – far easier than other co-working places I’ve tried out which appeared less formal yet had zero community.
- Accessible location – very close to St Peter’s Square and Market Street. There’s a Sainsbury’s around the corner and Moose coffee is just next door. In terms of geography, it couldn’t get better.
The downside of Regus Fountain Street
- No natural light – at home, I sit in front a big first floor window so I really noticed the difference. I couldn’t stand it for very long and willingly escaped for a two-hour meeting in the middle of the day.
- No space for an informal meeting – there are two chairs in the business lounge but both myself and another visitor chose not to use it for meetings that day, possibly because the lounge was full of people. It didn’t feel separate enough to have a conversation there without intruding on others’ workspace. In other circumstances, I think I’d happily sit there and chat.
Would I use this workspace?
In terms of work life balance, getting myself some out-of-home space is a really good idea.
I’m pretty good at switching off at 6pm, but there are days when I don’t leave the house and I sometimes miss the hubbub of office life.
Work Life Week, which runs from 3rd – 7th October, aims to empower employees to achieve a better work-life balance and give employers the chance to showcase their flexible working policies and practices. What that means to you and I will be two different things.
Right now, I delight in the fact that I can easily book a myriad of appointments in the middle of the day when no one else can. I can shop when it’s quiet and my commute is insane.
When consulting and contract work is scheduled, I can pick up my laptop and work from anywhere in the world. All I need is a WiFi connection and an occasional printer (although I am rather partial to a flipchart and coloured pens). I can work pool-side, mountain-side, sea-side.
But I don’t. And even though I may not work after 6pm, I am always, always thinking about my business.
And that’s why I’m a terrible boss
I never stop.
I tell myself to work harder.
I tell myself not to take a holiday, break, moment of jubilation.
I tell myself to do one more hour, one more article, one more revision.
My work-life balance is shot! I’m the worst boss I’ve ever had and Work Life Week has made me realise that…
I wonder if I don’t need co-working space so much as co-thinking space. I’m sure if someone else was up here in my brain with me they’d be far kinder to me!
But working from a place like this Regus business lounge might give me the separation I need.
Regus Fountain Street offers a corporate, formal and friendly base for people working in and around Manchester. You can turn up, plug in, make phone calls and friends. While the environment is not for me, the community is spot on.
What’s your work-life balance like? Have you got this stuff down or is it a work in progress for you too?