How does one go about finding shared office space, specifically in the UK?


5

I'm currently working from home, but finding this too solitary, and also need a change of environment in general so I'm considering moving cities. I think this is a great time to branch out of my residence and work somewhere else, but I'm not really sure how to go about doing this. I work with free/open source software, so I think posting messages on various user groups might be a good way to research potential space.

Does anyone have any tips on where/how to find shared office/co-working space?

UK Office Space Shares

asked Jun 1 '11 at 07:27
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Ocharles
126 points

5 Answers


9

Free Options

  1. You have a friend that either owns a company and has a spare desk he is willing to let you use until its taken.
  2. To introduce some variety during your work day you could try to work from different coffee shops for part of that day a few times per week.
Paid Options

  1. Hubs or Workspaces. You pay membership and you get things like free wifi, a desk in an open plan office and access to meeting rooms. I suspect you will mostly find startup people in those, which might mean it will be more social (haven't tried). Examples:

  2. Shared office space sites where people offer desks/part of an office for a monthly rent. The difference to the above is that you will be sharing probably with small-to-mid companies. Examples:

P.S: Something amusing to check out as well: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home
answered Jun 1 '11 at 22:42
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Ivan Zlatev
216 points
  • +1 good answer Ivan with some nice links. – Edralph 8 years ago
  • Thank you. :-) . – Ivan Zlatev 8 years ago
  • +1 for the cartoon - loved it! – Steve Wilkinson 8 years ago

3

Look for incubators as well. Here in Cambridge we have a few science parks and innovation centers which boast a range of services from desk rental (hotdesking) to small office spaces and fully managed incubator premises. As well as co-working, check out the incubator facilities and search for "shared office space [city name]". St Johns Innovation center is one example.

Some cities are just better than others for startups. I know you didn't ask this, but if you really have the flexibility of moving to any city in the UK bear in mind that some cities are really well set up to cater for startups. Cambridge has a variety of organisations like the Cambridge Network, Cambridge Angels, CHASE, CETC and others (all beginning with C). The Business Weekly reports heavily on startup and business stuff in this region. Added to that are the aforementioned science parks and business parks, the University and academic culture. If you are looking for motivation, inspiration, other like-minded startup founders a place like Cambridge would be ideal. Furthermore, not trying to sell the place or anything, we have a high concentration of software, high-tech and biotech companies here. If you can't get over to Silicon Valley, head here to the Silicon Fen instead :)

The point here is that regardless of whether you find Cambridge attractive or not, there is a big difference in startup-support that you may get from city to city. Definitely worthwhile doing the research. Whilst you'll find events like this in Cambridge, I'm not sure you'll find the same sort of thing in {insert random UK city name here}.

answered Jun 1 '11 at 20:13
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Edralph
2,333 points
  • I do indeed have entire flexibility, and I noticed Cambridge seems to be very active for co-working when I was having a browse yesterday. I'm not sure I can look for an incubator though, as I'm just a freelance programmer doing contract work for a company in America - I'm not working on my own startup. I will however give all these resources a good look! – Ocharles 8 years ago
  • Cambridge might be a good environment and a nice city, but the "best" tech/dev meetups, conferences and events are generally in London IMHO. – Ivan Zlatev 8 years ago

3

I worked at home for 3 years building my company then moved to co-working style space, then upgraded to a cubicle. The psychological benefits are incalculable. I still work at home too, but knowing that work and life are separate helps me do better work. There's something incredibly profound about being around others while working.

If at all possible, do transition to a workspace of some kind. As long as the environment isn't like a coffee-house/grown-up playspace, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

answered Jun 2 '11 at 00:09
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Nicko
840 points
  • Your story exactly matches my motivation. For detail, my current setup is a separate flat that I live in, and I use a spare room at my parents for free (just graduated from university). However, it's really not cutting it - mostly that no one in my environment is in the same field as me. I need other people to bounce ideas off, or even just to set the mood more. – Ocharles 8 years ago
  • I work with colleagues in Europe, and we're all spread out all over. We work with technology, interacting through collaboration tools, messaging, skype, whatever. It may seem banal, but having acquaintances at your 'work site' just makes the workday better, in my opinion. I've been corporate before, and it turns out the little pleasantries of colleagues, like saying "have a nice weekend" to someone as you walk out the door, are really beneficial for those of us who work remotely, whether owners or not. – Nicko 8 years ago

1

Not sure if by the time of my reply you already have your office? Anyways will tell you that there are many companies who provide fully serviced offices which include everything you mentioned in your post plus lot's of other options. All you need is to search for shared serviced offices and the location you need.

answered Nov 30 '11 at 03:54
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Serviced Offices
11 points

1

Look for "coworking" space. One site to start of is http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/16583831/FrontPage, and that's is a directory of coworking spaces all over the world http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/29303049/Directory (there are several in the UK).

answered Jun 1 '11 at 18:26
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Filippo Diotalevi
2,573 points

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