It’s almost 40 years since Dolly Parton derided the idea of working ‘9 to 5’ and it seems that Londoners have finally got the message. With the self-employed set to overtake the public sector for the first time, and even those in regular employment working more flexibly than ever, traditional offices are in decline. There’s only so long anyone can coffee-shop-hop, so a new breed of work spaces is stepping up to meet the demand. Combining the benefits of café culture, members clubs and serviced offices, these 10 London coworking spaces offer something for everyone.
Soho Works Shoreditch
Soho Works is the coworking arm of members club Soho House, created for ‘people that want dedicated workspace and also appreciate Soho House’s design, functionality, friendly service and attention to detail,’ says creative director Tanya Wood. Expect vintage and contemporary furniture, including Victorian dining tables, mid-century sideboards and chandeliers. Its 16,000 sq ft space inside the Tea Building is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers a café and concierge desk. Soho Works also pops up at 180 The Strand during London Fashion Week, offering the fashion pack a dedicated place to work (free of charge) between the shows.
Best for: Those upgrading from laptop-working in a members club
TEA Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ
Fora Central Street
Taking inspiration from the hospitality industry, the newest brand on the London coworking space scene is Fora (plural of ‘forum’). Their Clerkenwell location, a collaboration between Fora and Studio RHE, is the first of in ambitious programme of 20 London launches over three to five years. Says so-founder Enrico Sanna: ‘Our professional spaces and concierge service increase productivity and encourage collaboration.’
Best for: Jetsetters looking for an upgrade from hotel lobbies
71 Central Street, London EC1V 8AB
Always fancied working at Google? Well now you can. Google Campus might not have a slide but it offers co-working spaces designed by Jump Studios, equipped with a Lego-clad reception desk and an ‘inspiration wall’. Expert speakers, networking events and mentoring from Google staff help fledgling business grow.
Best for: Tech startups with a thing for Lego
4-5 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX
Want to work in the comfort of someone else’s sitting room? Have a scout through the offerings of Vrumi, an Airbnb-style platform that lets people rent out their living spaces, home offices or dining rooms while they’re out during the day. With over 200 locations in London, Vrumi’s listings are perfect for off-site meetings, strategy days or just a change of scene. No need to commit to a monthly fee.
Best for: Ad hoc days away from your usual space
Addresses across London
‘Their offices are cool, but it’s also a place where you get stuff done,’ says one resident of Central Working. Collaboration is a big part of productivity, and networking is such an important element of this space that they’ll give you your money back if you don’t make a ‘meaningful connection’ in the first 30 days.
Best for: Start-ups hoping to meet likeminded people
86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ
The Office Group at the Shard
Claiming to have pioneered the concept of the shared workspace in Britain when they launched in 2003, The Office Group now has 27 London coworking spaces. The most dramatic location has to be the 24th and 25th floors of The Shard – if only for those views. Members can use any of its sites, which will include East London’s White Collar Factory from Spring 2017.
Best for: People who need the flexibility to work across London
The Shard, 24/25, 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
WeWork now has 12 locations in the capital and five more in the pipeline, but its London ventures started at Sea Containers house on the Southbank. A communal penthouse with views across the Thames, bicycle storage, showers and a pet-friendly policy all conspire to create a relaxed vibe that’s almost like working from home.
Best for: Pet-loving people who keep a dog under their desk
22 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD
Forge & Co
‘Eating out at lunchtime is often where you have your best ideas as a team,’ says Forge & Co director Steve Beale. ‘In today’s “always on” culture, it’s important to get a change of atmosphere during the working day.’ Dining is at the heart of Forge & Co’s coworking spaces, which encourage people to reclaim the lunch hour by offering nourishing Workers’ Plates that start from £6.95.
Best for: Those of us who get so busy we forget to eat
154-158 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6HU
Makerversity at Somerset House is a London coworking space for designers, markers and start-ups. It includes access to all of the tools and machines (think 3D printers, CNC-cutters etc) you need to bring your ideas to life. Nearby Somerset House Studios also offers residencies to a curated selection of artists and makers.
Best for: Makers who need access to machinery
Somerset House, Victoria Embankment, West Goods Entrance, London WC2R 1LA
Impact Hub Westminster
Aimed at social enterprises, civic services and charities, Impact Hub Westminster provides a supportive and collaborative environment in which people who are making a positive impact in the world can thrive.
Best for: Businesses that are making a difference
1st Floor, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE
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