The future of co-working – Work.Life

Co-working offers young entrepreneurs and mobile professionals the amenities of a large office on their terms.

Here at Work.Life, we provide freelancers, start-ups and businesses with a comfortable and professional environment in which they can carry out their day-to–day work, stress free. With co–working spaces in Bermondsey, Camden, London Fields and new spaces coming soon to Reading and Clerkenwell, members are free to work across any of our locations whenever they please, seven days a week. We also plan to move into Manchester, Cambridge and Birmingham with an aim to have 14 branches across the UK by 2018.On top of an amazing atmosphere, every Work.Life space comes with super fast, super efficient Wi-Fi, delicious coffee and a fully kitted kitchen, with daily fresh fruit and water on tap. 

We first launched with a small office in Camden and our ethics aren’t changing anytime soon. We don't plan on occupying spaces bigger than 10,000 square feet and we love to keep our work environment small enough that everyone can get to know each other. In a modern world, it's difficult to stop yourself from getting lost amongst a sea of faces in a huge and dreary office. That's why we wanted to create a space where users felt a sense of belonging and allowed them the chance to really get to know the person sitting next to them. Being part of a community is pretty much guaranteed to push you, your team, or your business to the top. At Work.Life we don't just want to work together either, which is why we offer a busy social and events calendar and lots of fitness and wellbeing perks. We believe fun and work can go together. 

With no sign up fee or deposit, our members can tap in and out all day for ultimate flexibility, at costs of £3.50 (plus VAT) an hour. Monthly memberships will also be available, and anyone living in Hackney will get 20 per cent off for the first two months. 

It is difficult enough to be a young entrepreneur in such a fast paced world, but the added pressure to commit to long-term office space is often daunting and off-putting. Co-working slots in to provide everything that working at a bigger business offers, but for those who work for themselves. It is estimated that 40% of the working population will be in self-employment by 2020 and these rising numbers need to be catered for. We do everything we can to make people feel at ease in their environment and we know everyone deserves to feel happy at work. 70% of people reported they felt happier than they did working in a traditional office setting and we only want to see this number rise. Our spaces are located near our member's homes meaning their commute is shortened and stress-free. Co-working spaces are great for productivity and work-life balance. 68% said they were able to focus better while co-working and 90% said they felt more confident. Shared spaces help entrepreneurs feel more confident, tap into huge networks and innovate with other like-minded people. 

Many freelancers like to work on their own schedule rather than the standard business hours. This goes beyond just co-working; people need the autonomy and flexibility to work whenever they want, wherever they want, and whenever they feel the most productive. Today's co-working spaces offer members a place to work alone but also together, within a collaborative community of like-minded individuals. For independent workers, co-working spaces provide a focused, community-driven, and cost-effective environment. In addition to a ready-to-go home base, co-working facilities offer a professional and stable setting to support evolving and established businesses. Our Members aren't locked into a long-term lease, so they can relocate and expand freely as needed. In addition, the built-in community offers much needed emotional and practical support. 

After announcing a new agreement with global technology leader Verizon, we are joining forces to open a co-working space in a Verizon site in London's Clerkenwell. Verizon launched its first co-working project earlier this year at its landmark building at 140 West Street in New York, but this deal is a first for Verizon in the UK. We want to achieve intimate co-working with direct access to the innovation and venture teams of Verizon and its global clients. The space aims to fill the working gap between SMEs and big business, championing face-to-face collaboration as a breeding ground for creative partnerships, mutual learning and business growth. The co-working site in Clerkenwell will open its doors in early April 2017 after a £1.2 million building refurbishment, and in the spirit of existing Work.Life venues will continue its affordable and flexible model for residents. 

The rise in the popularity of co-working means that it is no longer all about start-ups. Bigger businesses, Verizon, also see the benefits. The 'under one-roof' strategy moves the already fast-growing co-working trend into a new phase of deeper business value. This is set to open up the potential for Verizon, its customers and SME's to work alongside each other, helping them to innovate and share knowledge in new ways. 

It is expected that the number of global co-working spaces will grow from a bit over 11,000 in 2016 to just over 26,000 in 2020, with the number of global co-working members set to increase from about 976,000 to just over 3.8 million. That's a lot of people. Yet surely this figure is to be expected when there is such a huge demand for better work-life balance and there is such a need for greater flexibility within organisations? Nowadays, jobs can be done on the move, anytime and almost anywhere. Employers are gradually being pressured to give into demands for more flexible working arrangements, and Work.Life listens to those demands. Four-day weeks, 30-hour weeks and simply working from home are increasingly requested meaning the number of freelancers will inevitably rise. Co-working offers a fair, reliable and relaxed solution to those needing to break away from the standard business week. 

Elliot Gold, Co-Founder of Work.Life 

Image Credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elliot Gold is the Co-Founder of Work.Life, providing workspace and support for freelancers and entrepreneurs. He specialises in SME funding, start-up strategy and business support.