Fed up of café working? If you’re a freelancer or a start-up, what are the options to bag some desk space in Central London?
Niki Gomez, investigates London’s growing co-working /incubator spaces.
Our company, a digital marketing agency was looking for new office space, so we went scouting and here’s what we found. Most of these spaces can work for individual freelancers too.
We started off in East London, since it’s the main base for tech and creative companies, and ended up in Soho, great for media and corporate clients.
Shoreditch, Whitechapel, Bloomsbury
This was one of my favourites! It’s got 3 “clubs” – one in Shoreditch (near Old St tube and next to Google Campus), one in the West End (Bloomsbury) and the largest one in Whitechapel/Mile End.
This solution has meeting rooms that you pay on, though in Whitechapel where they are free.
The clubs: Whitechapel is more for techies and is way bigger. Shoreditch hosts a mix of techies and media. Bloombsury more of a meeting hub. A great address to have, right near Oxford St and Tottenham Court Rd.
They charge £25 if you just do a one-off day there. Otherwise there are different packages for hotdesking full and part-time, and for having a fixed desk. You can even have a proper office there- with walls and all!
And it’s 24-7 access.
Google’s space is right next door to Central Working Shoreditch and is totally free to use if you don’t mind hot desking in the basement- with super fast wifi and pricey but delicious coffee. It’s a buzzing space with books on coding, a pin board full of notes from start ups looking for talent, as well as talent being offered. Hang out there and you’ll surely find people for your team. But it’s super popular, so make sure you get there early in the day to bag a desk.
If you’d like your own desk space, you can rent that upstairs. There might be a bit of a waiting list though!
Apart from desk space though, Campus offers you entry into the whole tech start-up ecosystem. Campus London has done well at becoming a hub for entrepreneurs and a key player in the start up scene in London. There are regular talks from knowledgeable types, as well as Googlers offering ‘Office Hours’ on various topics those in start ups need to know- from marketing to coding to business planning. Hackathons and social drinks events go on here too.
It’s a great resource- head down there and sign up- it’s free. With your membership card you can drop in whenever you like.
See website for deskspace pricing.
Shoreditch, London Fields
These guys have just opened a large space in Shoreditch – where you have to apply to get desk space. Favouring product start ups rather than service companies allowed in, this should be a mother of a space- with a nice social area too. Their partner is advertising giant, Publicis who’ve opened “The Drugstore”, which apparently will hook up the resident companies with clients. I was here for a recent Hackney-a thon. That is a hackathon for the London borough of Hackney, with use of the (rather limited) data sets from the local council.
The Trampery also have one co-workspace focused on fashion near London Fields, Hackney, which is attached to cycle-cafe, Look Mum No Hands. When I visited it didn’t seem that big or impressive, but their web site certain is! The cafe is nice to meet or work in though.
Hanbury St, off Brick Lane
Opening its doors in November 2014, Second Home is the brainchild of the lovely Sam Alderton and Rohan Siva who was Mr Tech City and Google Campus advisor to David Cameron.
Designed by Madrid architects Selgos Cano, this is one truly beautiful space with a bar/restaurant open to the public and membership almost full even before opening. A waiting list exists for desk space, in true London style. There is a hot desk membership (though they don’t like this word) as well as full office space.
It’s a carefully curated mix of companies inside. The idea here is to really foster collaborations between the participants of the space. They tell me there will be plenty of opportunities to network as well as be inspired by top creatives and work together.
It’s just off Brick Lane, really tucked away, but when you enter you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. It’s got a lot of glass and plastic, coupled with carpet to feel warm, loads of plants and eclectic vintage furniture makes it feel a bit like a hotel. A friendly cool vibe completes the picture.
Prices and availability on application.
This is Radiohead’s space for musicians and music focused types – they give them studio space as well as access to a performance venue. This recently opened venue is a huge industrial club like gig space.
There’s a nice looking restaurant/bar. I haven’t eaten here, but it certainly looks the part!
Prices and availability on application.
London: Soho, Southbank, Liverpool St
Worldwide: Amsterdam, NYC, Washington DC
My company, The Retail Practice, plumped on this one! The Southbank space is really lovely, sophisticated and professional. It is a huge modern glass and chrome tower building with awesome views of the Thames. It makes you feel serious and pretty swanky. It feels plush.
Part of an international network means you can use it whilst travelling, as well as within different parts of London. We started off at Southbank and then moved to Soho, once it opened.
One negative of the Southbank We Work was the lack of mobile phone signal, but the other offices don’t necessarily have that issue.
You can either hot desk for £393/month or rent a private office, with walls, from £800/month upwards (these prices are for Soho).
We Work has lots of social events to foster a community spirit. Free beer is part of that, as is the office dog!
So come by and say hi!
2 Sheraton St, W1F 8BH.
If you’d like more info on these workspaces you can tweet me @nikigomez or contact the individual spaces directly for pricing/availability.