In simple terms, co-working is a style of work where employees share a working environment but work independently. Sure, it normally involves an office but the difference is that those involved in co-working don’t normally all work for the same organisation.
For SME’s and start-ups, it makes perfect sense to work in this way. Staff have access to a professional environment without the overheads of huge rent. But what about the workers themselves; how do they benefit?
Employees in co-working spaces tend to be happier and more productive so studies tell us, and this is something many of us can relate to in the modern workplace. Co-workers get to interact with so many other professionals from other companies and fields. This kind of social interaction and variety can result in employees engaging in greater levels of critical thinking. Their employer benefits from energetic employees who are more likely to be innovative, ultimately lifting the quality of the end product. It’s a win, win.
With this mind, it’s no surprise to learn that co-working spaces in London are a big hit. We look at 15 of the best.
1. Central Working
Central Working has a number of co-working spaces in London including offices in Farringdon, Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Paddington. CEO James Layfield knew that small businesses faced major challenges in terms of finding an affordable working environment so he decided to help them.
How co-working spaces have change the way of working? – I don’t believe that co-working has or is changing the way of working, rather the rise of co-working has been a reaction to the changing world of work. Today there are more small businesses and freelancers than ever and prior to co-working they had limited options of either the kitchen table or stale serviced/traditional offices. With work becoming more of a consumer experience co-working spaces are giving small teams and freelancers the opportunity to be part of a community of interesting people and provide affordable and flexible space that traditionally hasn’t been available to them.
Our spaces are all designed to up creativity and reduce stress. We’re small enough that everyone gets to know each other. We’re located close to where our members live, keeping face-in-stranger-armpit commute time to a minimum and most imporantly we are personal. You’re not alone at Work.Life – you’re part of a welcoming community and support network of fellow members.
With Central Working, you have genuine flexibility as there are no leases to worry about. You can also count on its team of professionals to help you out by passing on their knowledge. A little like us here at 99designs, Central Working also offer a money back policy; if you don’t form a connection with Central Working within 30 days, they will refund the freelancer or the founder of the business.
2. Work Life
With locations in Camden and London Fields, Work Life is trying to help people learn to love Mondays. It isn’t one of the largest co-working spaces in London but the company believes this intimate atmosphere helps everyone get to know one another better.
There is a real social element to Work Life and it has a number of seminars free to members with networking encouraged. Fun aspects include free Monday breakfast, weekly yoga and pizza & beer nights! You can rent out a space for as little as £3.50 an hour + VAT and it is ideal for start ups and freelancers.
Huckletree has locations in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell and is designed for every kind of business whether you’re a freelancer, investor, entrepreneur, start-up, social enterprise or even a larger business.
As a generation, we are hugely demanding. We need more than just a desk, solid wifi and free coffee in order to build the latest disruptive technology we’re working on. As such, co-working spaces are the best environments for us to excel in as they are transforming the workplace into complete ecosystems for the ambitious mind. Co-working spaces fulfill our need to work from jaw-dropping architectural spaces that are simultaneously flexible to our changing needs. They provide us with learning and wellbeing opportunities – and of course many an opportunity to network! Workshops, events and mentorship sessions are the daily norm, but we also think of co-working spaces as the best platform to launch new products, find new customers and engage talented employees. Lastly, we look to our workplace to help us achieve work-life balance. Finding the right workspace can hugely contribute to our fulfillment, both in our career and in our lives. Co-working spaces are not just changing the way we work, they are changing the way we live.
According to its founders, Huckletree is a place where problem solvers and ambitious minds come together. It believes the co-working space can inspire creativity and innovation and it has a range of packages ranging from £35 a day to £350 a month.
We’re simply trying to do what we think we do best – build a brand out of bringing the most interesting people in, to build a community that’s as exciting as it is welcoming. Our latest space in Shoreditch is a unique environment where each member can find a spot to fit their current workmood. If a quiet and cozy corner is needed to discuss the details of an upcoming investment, our members sneak into the conversation pit. When the sun is shining and an outdoor meeting is more likely to seal the deal, members take their clients to one of our planted gardens. When members need to hide from their teammates to work on their monthly financial report – we often spot them hiding in one of several quieter spots dotted around the space. One of our favourite features is the big ‘Stay Curious’ neon sign that illuminates our conversation pit. The tagline reminds our community and our team to keep learning and growing; not just in their work environment but also in everyday life.
This company has co-working spaces in Camden with a total of 84,000 square feet available. Interchange is designed mainly for start-ups and entrepreneurs and it says it offers the tools, ideas and infrastructure to help your business reach new heights.
All of its spaces are in unique locations with inspiring views and surroundings. In exchange for your rent, you receive access to around £1 million worth of free software and support. Interchange encourages networking and has 7 unique event spaces.
5. The Trampery
This company has provided co-working spaces in London for innovators, creators and entrepreneurs since 2009. It has working spaces in Hackney Wick, Tower Bridge and Old Street. These locations offer a unique work environment; you could work in a traditional office block, an Edwardian brick warehouse or a beautiful glass building with a stunning view of the Thames.
The Trampery also has a number of meeting rooms and venues for events. There are even special Residences which allow you to live right next to your workplace. This can significantly reduce commuting time which is a bonus in London!
6. The Collective
This property company strives to create innovative co-living and co-working spaces for creative minds. It claims it offers a new way to live in London. It has work spaces in Bedford Square, Old Oak Lane and Warple Way and living spaces in Aston, Camden, King’s Cross, Hyde Park and Notting Hill.
Perhaps its greatest claim to fame is its Old Oak living quarters which is the world’s largest co-living building. You will be surrounded by amazing décor and like-minded professionals if you decide to become part of The Collective.
7. Rainmaking Loft
This start-up hub was developed by a team of entrepreneurs and has offices in Berlin and Copenhagen as well as in London. It claims to help start-ups by offering a collaborative and inspiring working environment for an affordable price. The Rainmaking Loft space in London overlooks a marina next to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Rainmaking Loft is a co-working space for tech startups, located in the vibrant, historic St Katharine Docks marina, next to Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. A stone’s throw away from Shoreditch and the City, we are proud to be a major player in supporting this dynamic area as the new up and coming ‘Tech Hub’.
Rainmaking Loft’s members are Heroes at work. Our mission is to give them the best possible environment in which to grow their company. Whether that is connecting them to an experienced fellow member, helping them to find a suitable investor or offering access to our extensive network of experts. The London Loft is part of a family that also consists of Lofts in Copenhagen and Berlin, which members are welcome to make use of. We pride ourselves on our diversity at the Loft, counting more than 35 different nationalities. We are a close-knit community where startups can exchange and evolve together.
You can rent a space for as little as £349 (+VAT) a month and benefit from access to meeting rooms, a 150 seater event space, communal areas and much more. Entrepreneurs can network with like-minded individuals and enjoy some fun time to ease some of the more stressful encounters you might experience in your working day.
8. Tech Hub
Tech Hub refers to itself as “the global community for technology start-ups.” It has offices in London, Madrid, Riga, Warsaw and other European cities. To date, it has played host to 750+ start-ups featuring entrepreneurs from 60 different countries around the world. It hosts more than 1,000 annual events and its members have raised more than £1 billion.
It offers a special start-up support programme and has a flexible workspace. If your company is growing and you need more time and space, you can become a ‘Resident’ and have 24/7 access to Tech Hub.
9. Innovation Warehouse
This business started as a co-working and incubation company for fast growing digital start-ups in London back in 2010. At present, approximately 200 people work from the Innovation Warehouse’s location in Smithfield. It is a place where entrepreneurs, angels and mentors can work together to build something spectacular.
It has a permanent working area called The Hive where you’ll have a desk and you can bring your own equipment. There is also the option of 24/7 access which is ideal for entrepreneurs who tend to find their inspiration in the small hours of the morning!
Forward began its mission to help entrepreneurs find an inspiring workplace in 2007. Unlike the other co-working spaces listed in this piece, this organisation prefers to operate just outside major cities because they want to offer businesses an alternative.
You can enjoy the benefit of a workspace to suit your specific needs including access to a studio, work pods and full-time desks. There are also a number of social activities including table tennis, table-top football, beer and pizza on Fridays and even rounders in the local park!
11. Campus London
This is Google’s own space for entrepreneurs and is one of a number of similar co-working spaces around the globe. As well as selling fresh coffee and healthy foods to fuel your work, Campus offers a variety of programs including a Start-up School, Mentoring, Meet-ups and a host of other events.
When you join the Campus space in London, you’ll become part of an energetic and vibrant community and have the opportunity to chat with some of the brightest minds in your industry.
This company specialises in offering workspace to entrepreneurs who have unlimited ideas but are stifled by limited capital. There are two locations in London (the City and East London) and its goal is to enable all passionate entrepreneurs to access vital support affordably.
Co-working spaces are facilitating a collective need for our workspaces (where we spend the vast majority of our days) to provide us the perfect combination of autonomy and collaboration, socialisation and support. Personally, I’d say that it’s these needs being more acknowledged, accepted and encouraged that have changed the way we work and co-working spaces are a response to that, capitalising on offering inspiring and productive environments which offer a variety and flexibility never before known. The beauty of the co-working industry is that it’s developing in breadth and depth of product and service. It’s no one-size-fits all, nor format or cost-fits all for that matter! Once you’re sure it’s a safe environment with the basics taken care of (space, basic facilities, Internet) then the individual entrepreneurs, small businesses or satellite teams have options galore. They can choose on facilities, support offered, type of residents and members, location, cost, cache… and that’s where the beauty but also the value truly lies – we now have more control than ever to ensure our workspace fits us & our needs, we have that choice and people are running with it!
You can have full 24/7 access for just £230 a month and there are also Bursary programs which offer reduced membership fees for 18 months. Entrepreneurs who are starting registered charities or supported by Third Party enterprise partners are given discounted rates by Bathtub2Boardroom.
We’re a charity designed to support those taking that first leap into starting a business. Whether they’ve come from being homeless or a successful career, we’re levelling the playing field and enabling any passionate budding entrepreneurs to access those vital lifelines which give the people behind the business the best possible chance of hitting their goals. We offer all the practicalities (space, Internet, meeting rooms, teas/coffees, bike storage etc) plus a whole host of support from seasoned entrepreneur mentors, professional advice partners and of course, our very own community of 100+ startups. We’re more like an Incubator with a small i!We offer fully inclusive, radically affordable memberships to those who intend to grow businesses as well as a Bathtub Bursary which offers up to 18 months of free & subsidised membership to those who’ve come from lower opportunity backgrounds or challenging situations. We proudly partner with The Prince’s Trust, You Make It and UnLtd to offer this to their beneficiaries and are also partnering with The Guild of Entrepreneurs to help further the connection and opportunities between established entrepreneurs and those just starting out.We’re super excited to announce that we’re now partnering with Aspirations Academies Trust to open a pilot Tub (aka workspace) within a college where we can test and push our hypothesis that students will be better equipped to enter the working world, HE or start their own business if they’ve engaged in their formative years with a real-life professional eco-system – and ours is one that’s filled with some of the most diverse and exciting businesses in London.
13. The Greenhouse London
Well basically they have given new meaning to work creating ways to share , grow, connect and acquire new knowledge and information. People who use co working spaces see their work as meaningful, they have more job control and they are part of a community . The benefits will help you grow your business faster , will expand your personal and professional networks , will help you to find new clients and make you more productive.
The Greenhouse London markets itself as “A new space for creative entrepreneurs” and it has spaces in the heart of Hackney and in Newington Green. There are a total of 120 desk spaces available along with other facilities such as a conference room, media lab, training room and studio space.
There are also separate studios spaces available across London if your business needs a little more space. You can choose between Shared, House and Green membership packages so pick the one that best suits your start-up.
We think about people like us , the founders. Our space is flexible , cool and affordable . We focus on an ethos which covers work, fun and wellbeing . Under our ceiling we can work , have an amazing affordable lunch and do a class of yoga if that’s your thing. We have spaces that can be use for events, workshops , classes , pop ups, and much more . We like to build our own things like the most of our space: it was built and design by us. Nevertheless the most important thing is our members and that is actually who we are and for us is the most important factor .
14. THECUBE London
Co-working spaces changed work culture and the aesthetics of workspaces. In consequence this created new norms and perception of what work means. It has democratised the access to enterprise, mobilised knowledge making it easier to spread ideas, and it created a platform for people to change the course of economics.
This co-working space is dedicated to start-ups in the fields of science, design and technology. THECUBE is for entrepreneurs who exhibit creativity, curiosity and the willingness to be a contributor in what is a tight-knit community. The space contains high ceilings, plants and lots of natural light to give you that sense of freedom needed to be at your most creative.
THECUBE has been around since 2009 and we concentrate on Neuroscience, Technology, and Design.
It is partnered with a number of national and international organisations and universities so if your goal is to create and innovate, THECUBE could be the perfect co-working space option for you.
Also known as L39, this company markets itself as Europe’s largest technology accelerator for entrepreneurs in the retail, security and finance niches. Yet Level39 is not just a place to work, it is primarily a place to learn. You can benefit from a specially tailored curriculum, special events and the mentorship of expert entrepreneurs as you look to grow your start-up.
It is owned by the Canary Wharf Group and has been helping entrepreneurs turn great ideas into multi-million pound products since March 2013. Its position in the heart of Canary Wharf means you are only minutes away from some of the most influential people in the world of finance.
Ready for co-working?
If you’re looking to grow your start-up, taking the plunge to operate in a co-working space in London could be the best decision you ever make. As well as expanding your list of business contacts, you’ll be surrounded by the best and brightest in business and tech. Maybe you’ll find a mentor, an employee or an investor as well as new friends. Helping people grow together is a passion of ours and co-working spaces epitomise exactly that – it can be a real meeting of minds. Their creativity and innovation can serve to inspire you and of course, there is the small matter of the social element! Going to work should be a fun experience, not one you dread. With a co-working space, you can both play and profit.