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Does anyone even work in an office anymore? As London’s young things move out of high-rises and claustrophobic cubicles, co-working may well be the future of business. Whether you’re a freelancer looking for a space more motivating than your sofa, a tech start-up on the hunt for networking opportunities, or a nine-to-five grinder with a side-hustle that’s strictly after hours, you’ll get the job done in London’s best co-working spaces.
The territory of young, hipster parents with deep pockets, De Beauvoir is Hackney’s most grown-up neighbourhood. Like its area’s residents, De Beauvoir Block is ideal for those wanting a specialised space to work without compromising on that East London style. The Edwardian warehouse has undergone a millennial makeover with pastel-pink brickwork, cane chairs, sumptuous velvet sofas, a generous helping of greenery and a dash of Scandi minimalism for good measure. Needless to say its patrons are largely from the creative industry.
The Casual Membership grants users access to the co-working space, its communal spots and super-fast WiFi, as well as the option to book the on-site boardroom. If you’re looking for something more permanent, the Exclusive Membership comes with a dedicated desk-space so you can sleep-in without worrying someone’s going to nab your spot. The café is vegan friendly – this is Hackney after all…
Membership starts at £100/month.
Credited with making co-working spaces cool, Soho House is a no-brainer. Yet its lesser known (and more affordable) little sister, Soho Works, could be a better fit for those looking for a casual workspot without needing access to the club’s frills. Housed in East London’s Tea Building, the 16,000sq ft industrial-chic space houses bookable meeting rooms, a photo studio, library and workshop with crafts, tools and even a 3D printer, meaning all the bases are covered no matter what your business is – although you’re likely to find more creatives than accountants.
Balance work with some time in the reading room, all-day café and bar, members’ kitchen and, in warmer months, on the roof terrace. Open 24 hours a day, Soho Works really caters to the haphazard schedules of creatives who resonate with Dolly Parton’s dismissal of a 9-5. When it comes to location, you can’t really do better; Shoreditch is a positive buzzword when telling clients where you’re based.
Enquire about membership here
Inspired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who famously said “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women”, AllBright opened London’s first women-only members’ club and co-working space. Set within a glorious five-storey Georgian townhouse, the club is a space for women to connect, create and collaborate – no matter their career path.
Sophisticated and chic, it’s a perfect setting for client meetings or team brainstorms (members are permitted to bring three guests inside at a time). AllBright’s open-plan layout lends itself brilliantly to co-working, with meeting rooms, working stations, social spots, a restaurant and café. To make life a little easier, the club is fitted with a fully stocked bar, event spaces, a beauty salon and screening room. Most appealing is the club’s emphasis on events, debates and networking opportunities which can lead to new ideas and indispensable connections.
Membership starts from £1,150/year, including multi-club access to AllBright clubs in California, which will open in Spring 2019, and the Mayfair wing, which opened in May 2019.
While you won’t find the slides or nap-pods of its Silicon Valley headquarters, the Google Campus in East London does offer co-working spaces. Split across five floors, the different levels represent a tech hierarchy of sorts. First off is the café, where besides incredibly fast WiFi (no buffering here), distractions abound, and the few seats are only slightly less scarce than power outlets. The main attraction on this floor is networking; you’ll almost always leave with a business card.
To upgrade to a co-working space conducive to work in the traditional sense of the word, you’ll want to apply for a desk on the Google for Startups Residency floors where a seat is guaranteed, it’s a little quieter, coffees are cheaper and networking opportunities are still in abundance. Next up is the Seedcamp accelerator, specifically for startups accepted into the Google program, then upwards from that are the actual Google offices. If you’re looking for a place to plug-in and work solidly on your own then Google Campus probably isn’t for you, but if networking, mentoring and events are high up on your list of priorities, you can’t do much better.
Apply here; joining the Google for Startups Community is free.
Whether you’re a one-man band or a small team, an established startup or side-hustling after hours, you’ll love Launch22’s cool workspace and reasonable pricing. Its offering is stylish but more pared back compared to most; housed in one big building it has flexi sharing desks at its centre, fixed desks on its outskirts, extra seating on its terraces, one bookable and free meeting room, plus a teeny but effective breakout area. Launch22 still boasts all the necessities, just nothing more – hence its affordability.
All memberships come with access to Launch22’s mentors whose expertise range from investment to legal, and include Paypal’s director and the co-founder of Rightmove. Apply for a free, three-month incubator programme aimed at entrepreneurs who don’t have the resources to realise their business idea; the programme includes weekly one-to-one mentoring and invaluable access to Launch22’s community. The programme is a testament to Launch22’s support of budding entrepreneurs and blossoming businesses that may not benefit from the connections had by Soho House’s clientele.
Membership starts from £120/month
More slick than hipster, Fora is a boutique workspace where all the details are tended to. Here work and play combine in a relationship that’s equal parts business meetings and Italian food. A self-dubbed “pro-working space”, Fora is an innovative, professional but stylish environment for trailblazing businesses at every stage of growth. It provides a stable and inspiring space to find your feet and offers the innovation and connections for you to take the next step.
Thanks to the on-site concierge and state-of-the-art Fora app, things run especially smooth at this workspace so you can focus on what matters: your work. Super-fast WiFi, sound-masking technology and custom IT solutions make for a productive work environment, complete with phone booths, a library, reading room, lounges and meeting rooms. The co-working kitchen is also stocked with tea, coffee, biscuits, snacks and fresh fruit, plus sparkling water on tap. Alongside making your business dreams come true, your fee also includes access to the gym and well-being studio. Plus, the in-house Palatino Italian restaurant is a perfect spot for a late-night bite or client luncheon.
Membership starts from £300/month for an open desk and access to all facilities across the Fora network.
Saying you work in the Shard will definitely impress your family, friends and prospective clients – no need to tell them it’s the co-working space on the 24th and 25th floors. Founded 11 years ago, The Office Group (or ToG) is a respected name in the co-working business. Designed by the architects responsible for New York’s Standard Hotel and Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone, the space is expectedly chic, while also lending itself to days of deal making and long nights in the office.
While ToG does offer hot desking and desk-renting options at its (many) other London venues, its Shard home is more geared toward small businesses in need of offices with leases. 24-hour access with a reception, phone booths, free black-and-white printing, utilities, meeting rooms and breakout spaces are included in the contract – as are incredible views across London. Although food is pretty reasonably priced at the ToG cafés, the Shard’s close proximity to Borough Market is very tempting.
Enquire about private offices to rent at Tog, The Shard at [email protected]
If you’re a creative twenty-something living in London you’ve probably worked at Ace Hotel. Despite the distraction of people-watching and outfit-envying, the hotel’s ground floor is surprisingly conducive to work with most of its patrons plugging in and getting down to it, so respect the atmosphere and if you’re having a work chat, keep it hushed. Besides the long table at the centre, small enclaves of cushy sofas are also open for those able to work without a desk.
If you’re looking to snag a spot at this coveted locale however, arrive early as spots fill up quick and empty slow. Alternatively, make your way to the hotel’s café which usually has a few tables available. Despite the abundance of stick-and-poke tattoos and an achingly cool vibe, there’s an overwhelming sense of community at Ace which includes an understanding that everyone’s grinding towards their goals (and maybe can’t afford to buy a fourth cappuccino). Pro tip: if you hit snooze one too many times, there are a few secret working spots at the back of the hotel’s Hoi Polloi restaurant that welcomes worker bees as well as diners.
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