Gone are the days when co-working meant grabbing a coffee and hoping you wouldn't get too many dirty looks from the staff when you plugged your laptop in to their 'secret' socket.
Now, there are fantastic, welcoming co-working spaces around the country where you can really feel like you belong - and you might even feel like you have colleagues again at the next desk. Here are three of our favourite spaces.
Our first stop was The Fisheries in Hackney. It embodies everything about the best workspaces - with extra touches that most employers don't provide. Now many of us are moving away from going to an employer's workspace every day, we found the friendly people at The Fisheries really welcoming and helpful.
What you get at The Fisheries is the closest we've found to working from home in a co-working space. They've including lots of plants, which is good for biophilia , and the furniture is all reclaimed from vintage fairs around the country, so it feels much less corporate than other spaces.
Membership options range from hot desk and access to communal areas, to a dedicated desk space and a secure private home for your business. Whatever you choose, there's 24/7 access, unlimited free tea and coffee, printing services and even onsite shower facilities - useful if you're a keen cyclist or gym bunny. So impressed with The Fisheries, we signed up!
There's a completely different feel to the ARC Club Homerton . With a clean, professional look, this is more like an office away from the office. If you want to avoid distractions, this might be the place for you.
With all the usual perks, like free tea and coffee, printing services and phone booths, this open-plan space offers a clean, fuss-free environment for you to be at your most productive.
ARC has a range of membership plans, for part-time to full-time, to include a team and even a low income plan to support those on a low income, benefits, are unemployed or studying.
Our third choice of local co-working space is the bustling space at The Trampery which also has other sites at Old Street, Tottenham and Poplar. Its hybrid membership allows flexibility in where you work and when.
The Trampery prides itself on its Space to Grow policy, which means there is plenty of natural light, air-conditioning and ergonomic chairs. Membership allows booking of meeting rooms and event space.
Online community support is offered alongside the physical working space, which is award-winning. As with all the sites we tried, Covid-safe working is a priority, with social distancing and hygiene controls as standard, so you know you will stay safe.
A recent article by founder and CEO of The Trampery Charles Armstrong explores 'The City of London: New Horizons ' and discusses 'multi-modal working. Armstrong says: Your typical working week in 2022 might involve one day in a central corporate office, one day working from home, two days in a local shared workspace walking distance from your house, and one day working intensively with your team in a flexible project space.
Whatever your needs are, it's clear that there are some outstanding co-working spaces available. All three centres we found run events, which might help with networking locally, too! If you are balancing working from your usual office and needing a co-working space, having support from other businesses - online or face to face under Covid-safe conditions - brings real benefits.
* Need some help organising your stuff to take to a co-working space? We used one of our brand new Shuttle laptop backpacks to help us get straight down to work when we checked in.