Our lives are crazy these days. I’m sure many of you can identify with this. An elderly relative broke his hip last July and spent seven weeks in a rehab center. We had to sort out his place, as well as visit him. He went home, but as he was only able to get care for three hours a day for just three weeks, we had to go to his home every other day to help him out with laundry, shopping, cleaning etc.
A few months ago, he had a relapse and is now in a nursing home. We have to prepare his place to sell it, as well as visit him as often as we can. As well as prepare our place as we might be moving soon. That’s a whole other story.
So, why am I telling you this? I’ve been thinking the past few days, thank God we have this work from home business. If we had regular jobs, either we wouldn’t be able to take the time off to give our relative the proper care he needed, or we’d have lost our jobs by now. Let’s face it, what company in America is going to let you take so much time off to care for someone who needs you? But as we work for ourselves, we can take all the time we need to give our relative the proper care and attention. Family is so important, right? They have to come first. As it is, we both lost our jobs within three months of each other before any of this with our relative even happened.
Time. We can never have enough of it. Especially when we work long hours every day. Our lives are fleeting enough as it is without spending so much time behind a desk, or wherever it is you work. Your job puts money in your bank, pays the bills, puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your head. But it takes so much in return. It steals so much of our time. Time we could better spend with our family. I work with my wife. So we live together and we work together. And believe it or not, it really works for us! We get on so well. We’re an amazing team. As we have been so busy we haven’t been able to devote as much time as we’d like to our business. But the check we get every month for the work we have already done keeps holding us over.
There’s a car under there, somewhere…
We’re in hibernation. Until spring. I’ve blogged a couple of times now about how great working from home is, how nice it is not having to face a rough commute to work and back in the cold and snow. And it IS great! However, there is a flip side. Since the storm on Monday I haven’t been outside, other than to get the mail and, of course, shovel all this delightful snow.
I love snow. I really do. But enough already! I had to shovel eight inches of slop on Monday. Today I had to shovel another inch or so of snow that seemed to be eighty per cent water. And we are meant to have another snowstorm this weekend. This one could be the biggest storm of the season. Oh well, if nothing else, at least it gives me exercise. I just wish I could remember to eat an Access bar before going out to shovel. At least it would give me more energy. But roll on spring now when at least we can get out and mingle more. But all things considered, it still beats facing those treacherous messy commutes!
So, to all of you who work from home, how do you cope with the winter hibernation blues?
So we have another wild week of winter weather on tap. January had two big snowstorms and a lot of bone chilling cold. February hasn’t been as cold so far, but the snow just keeps on coming. Yesterday we had 8 inches on Staten Island, NY. Tonight we’re expecting snow and ice. And we potentially have the biggest snowstorm yet.
So, what does this have to do with our business? Well, I feel sorry for everyone who has to struggle to work every day through all this inclement weather. It can’t be any fun at all.
For us, this weather just gives us an excuse to stay home and make phone calls. That’s the advantage of working from home, you see. We get to pick and choose when we go out. And when we don’t go out we can still work. Making calls, blogging, internet marketing. It’s all about getting the word out. We’re not in sales. We don’t sell at all. We refer people to our company. We’re marketers. It’s fun. It’s interesting. Yes, it’s challenging at times. But I prefer this sort of challenge to slogging to work and back day in, day out. That’s no fun at all.
Ok, I’d like to post an update regarding Regus. Following on from my previous blog, my wife and I had a discussion with the manager of the Knightsbridge Road branch of Regus, in Piscataway, New Jersey.
In fairness to Regus, we had no problem with the company before two extra charges showed up. Their service was excellent, the office we rented was very clean and everything else was perfect. The issue we had was just the two extra charges we were hit with when we thought we’d paid everything up. One charge is basically for when they continue to receive phone calls and / or mail after you have vacated your office. You get charged for three months of this service after you vacate. As we didn’t use either of these services in the first place, we naturally had an issue with that. Anyway, as I said we had a discussion with the branch manager, Melissa, and she promised to speak to her directors and sort something out. She really went to bat for us, after we’d given her a pretty hard time. We’ve had a lot of stress in our lives due to several issues, none of them related to Regus and I’m afraid she got the brunt of some of that. Nevertheless, she handled herself in a very professional manner, and we found a few days later that the Business Continuation charge has been withdrawn altogether. It’s nice to know a corporate company can be so reasonable. So thank you Melissa, and thank you Regus for your handling of this situation. We still have to pay a “restoration fee” which was only disclosed after we’d signed the contract, but it’s much less than the “continuation fee” we were originally going to be charged for. You still have to beware of hidden extra charges but that’s probably true with any company you’re dealing with. It’s nice to know though that Regus can be reasonable and are willing to work with you.
Ok so I’m in the process of learning one of life’s lessons. Always do diligent research before jumping into anything. My wife and I did look into this company but we obviously didn’t dig deep enough. Now we’re looking harder and the dirt is starting to appear. So I’m writing this blog in an attempt to stop others making our mistake.
We have a small business and we’re trying to make it grow. We figured if we had our own office then we would be more focused when we were there. The idea being that if we had a specific place to work then we’d be more productive. So we went with Regus. They’re a nationwide chain. When you meet the staff, they’re very professional, very courteous. Of course they are. They want your money.
After we signed contracts we were told about the first hidden charge that wasn’t explicitly stated in the contract. There is a $154 restoration fee that you have to pay when you leave. This is so the office can be maintained. This is ON TOP OF a $75 office start-up fee so the office can be provided in good condition. So in effect you’re paying for the samer thing TWICE! They don’t tell you that before you sign on the dotted line. This is despite the fact the office is actually new and regardless of whether you put anything on the walls. There is also a $50 start-up fee, to get an access card, $30 a month kitchen fee.
Our contract is up at the end of the month. We paid each month in advance so we’re all paid up and we were not expecting any more invoices from Regus. In fact, we’re expecting our two month deposit to be returned. So imagine our shock this morning when we received an invoice for $950 for a three month “service continuity” fee. This is for after we’ve left. What a joke! Why should we be expected to pay a service continuity fee for a service we no longer require?
To be honest, the environment Regus provide is very pleasant and very clean. They could be a great company to deal with if they didn’t employ such bad business practices. They seem to be very greedy and very grasping, determined to screw every dollar they can out of you. Despite the quality of their product, I wouldn’t recommend Regus to my worst enemy. If you’re looking to rent office space, AVOID Regus. Go with someone who has better customer relations and who will treat you with more respect.