As the ‘back to school’ chatter starts to circulate this year, so has the ‘back to the office’ conversation - and the new term is feeling a little different. Back to the office? Work from home? Bit of both?
Working from home has been the dream for some, but carving out an office in our lounge or bedrooms, with housemates or little ones causing endless distractions, has not had quite the same effect!
Whilst the benefits of hybrid working have become evident (reduced commuting time, improved employee morale…), there are days where a change of scenery and proper coffee are simply needed.
Originally popular among freelancers, who craved a different view from their local Pret, co-working spaces have quickly taken on new forms as membership club / co-working space hybrids. They have spruced up the standard rows of IKEA desks and basic coffee machines and started offering a wide-ranging selection of benefits: events for members, ergonomically designed interiors and even on-site gyms. These co-working and membership spaces have gently started to re-open as the WFA (Work from anywhere) approach is embraced by many employers, in a post-covid-19 world.
Wondering where to pull up your chair and make the most of this newfound flexibility? We have got you covered. The best London based, meeting and co-working spaces are as follows - and yes, of course, we factored in sustainability!
Uncommon is a multi-location, serviced workspace that has thoughtfully designed every aspect of their customer experience. Each detail has been put in place to “energise and inspire”, as the founder believes that productivity and creativity levels are affected by light, smell, sound, physical activity, ergonomics and biophilia (breathing). These spaces make everyday life and working a little more special and have been well thought through to have plenty of natural light, air and greenery. There are multiple different membership types from flexible day passes to fixed private offices, with a host of benefits - a true all-rounder.
Best for: those who want to prioritise wellness whilst working in wonderfully stylish surroundings.
Founded in 2018, All bright is a member and women-only space that opens up a community of like-minded women, even though men are welcome to come along as guests. Their membership is straightforward and they offer 3 types, with each tier giving you access to more benefits. They also offer free digital membership (and a pay monthly ‘enhanced’ version) to connect, upskill and achieve your career goals - which is a nice touch! You have a LinkedIn style profile, can connect with other women and attend free digital events and webinars.
The location is situated on Maddox Street in Mayfair, but where this one really shines through is the use of reciprocal clubs all over the world, which you gain access to for being part of Allbright. This space revolves around socialising, working and wellness, so even if you’re not looking for a desk or office, but a social place to meet like-minded women - this is well worth a look. The only lacking credential is their sustainability commitments, which we hear they are trying to improve!
Best for: any woman who is looking for a multi-location club for work, socialising and wellness.
Second Home really champions sustainability and has a social purpose ingrained in its DNA. They have four locations in London, spanning west to east: Holland Park, Spitalfields, London Fields & Clerkenwell. Second Home runs off 100% renewable energy and aims to minimise its carbon footprint by repurposing old buildings wherever possible, or using environmentally-friendly materials if they must build from scratch.
The sustainable and philanthropic practices don’t stop there: they pay the living wage to all employees and partner with local charities giving them reduced rates for membership, free meeting rooms and hold away days. Second-Home also runs a ‘Language Lab’, which is a free course for migrants to help them improve their literacy and conversational skills.
Best for: those who want to reduce their carbon footprint, get access to events and engage with their philanthropic side.
So much more than just a desk! The clubhouse is London’s leading business members club. They have four design-led locations full to the brim with amenities to help you and your business. The locations are sleek, professional and great for holding any group meetings too. Not to mention they are centrally located and near some of the best lunch spots. On top of it, they’re trying to do their bit for the environment - through avoiding disposable items and getting the majority of food delivered on bikes.
Best for: corporate businesses who are looking for a space to meet or work alone post-covid-19.
For a genius, up-cycled office space in SE London, Containerville is a very intriguing concept. They have 200 up-cycled shipping containers that have been made into brand new individual offices. There are two sizes of space to choose from, that fits either 6 or 13 people and come with all-encompassing rent and wifi, plus optional add-ons, to rent or buy.
The containers come as a blank canvas and they actively encourage you to spruce them up and make them your own. Containerville seems to truly champion their community and released a Social Impact report where you can see how Containerville is supporting local and independent businesses that might usually get lost and overlooked by the skyscrapers and big brands that make up London’s skyline. As a concept that came about to reduce waste through up-cycling, they are really trying to champion social and sustainable practices.
Best for: start-up businesses or those who run small companies and want permanent office space, without any of the maintenance hassles.
The Graft is quite new to the co-working sector, but they have set high expectations - so we felt it was worth a mention! They plan to be a carbon-neutral building through using recycled and up-cycled materials, environmentally-friendly office supplies and smart monitoring software - all of which is powered by green energy providers.
The Graft is very new to the social and co-working space and they have a bit of work to do in order to reach their carbon-neutral goal. However, it is a strong start and it’s great they are building their business around a sustainable core - we’re excited to see where this one goes!
Best for: those who want access to a desk at an affordable price point.