The traditional office is yesterday’s news. Remote working is on the rise to meet the new demand for flexible and hybrid-working post-Covid.
Hybrid-working means giving employees the option to operate remotely for some days to do solo work while spending the rest of the week in co-working spaces or the office to connect and collaborate.
There are lots of co-working spaces out there, but the market is getting crowded. Well-known workspace providers like Regus and WeWork are facing competition from smaller providers and hotels and pub desks. In future, you may even be able to pick up a latte and work at a hub at Starbucks.
One crucial differentiating ingredient will be workspace where you can be genuinely collaborative, giving you and your employees a sense of belonging and making you feel part of something special.
How do you find such a space? To save you the legwork, we searched the country to find small, quirky providers in each of the UK’s four nations, alongside some of the best well-known co-working spaces in major cities.
Work.Life in Reading
Work.Life has just eight offices across London, Reading and Manchester. We’ve picked its fun and friendly space in Reading, which makes an effort “to make you feel special”.
The zoned workspace has a relaxed vibe, with welcoming staff who come out to greet you rather than staying behind a reception desk.
It creates a feeling of belonging through weekly free breakfasts, beer and pizza nights, regular social get-togethers and lunch & learn events. The sociability that results is why it attracts micro-businesses and small business – you soon get to know other companies.
£ Flex membership is a pay-as-you-go hotdesking option for two days a week from £20.
The Office Group (TOG), Borough High Street, London
TOG has 50 buildings across the UK and Germany, but we like its creative co-working space in London’s Borough High Street for the fantastic natural light that pours into its business lounge and the remarkable views from its green roof garden.
A place to meet and present, as well as to focus, the kitchen and break-out area, fully equipped gym space, showers, and bike storage are among the facilities that help foster a sense of community. It’s also just a two-minute walk to the Shard and More London from this location – ideal if you want to mix with sectors like finance, media and consulting services.
It’s tempting to grab something from Gail’s Bakery at lunch as it delivers straight to the building, but we prefer a walk to the traders in nearby Borough Market.
££ It costs £125 a month to co-work in the lounge.
HUB XV Sophia Gardens in Cardiff
HUB XV has turned sports clubs into business hubs, focusing on sporting values such as camaraderie that businesses can emulate when staff need to collaborate.
Its workspace at Sophia Gardens is not as well-designed and funky as the others in this list, but the views over Glamorgan County Cricket Club ground more than make up for it and ticks the box for biophilia.
HUB XV is often cited for providing interaction and supporting productivity in the five-star reviews it receives on Google.
Freelancer Rhys Roberts put it best: “Hub XV feels like a community. You meet people outside your industry. Billy and Alix have a great approach to being inclusive, constantly introducing people, and encouraging individuals to come together.”
£££ HUB’s standard membership is £175 a month.
Regus, Cardiff Brunel House
You can work in more creative co-working spaces than this in Cardiff, but the fantastic views from the 15th floor elevate the shared workspace in this Regus centre above the ordinary.
Designed with collaboration in mind, the workspace here offers an opportunity to rub shoulders with a like-minded community of professionals. The location is close to Queen Street Station, so it’s easy to access. Several Google reviewers say the offices are “nice”, and one calls it “a lovely building”, proving that beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
££ Surprisingly good value for a big player. Co-working space starts at £122 per person per month or memberships from £90 pm.
Tribe Porty in Edinburgh
We love the first words of Tribe Porty’s co-working webpage – ‘community is important to the way we work’ – and that they deliver on that promise.
The Works co-working space promises a chilled, creative environment for events, tabletop workshops, seminars, and meetings. There are plentiful opportunities to share work and collaborate with other members of the Tribe.
Tribe member Danni Gordon says: “Everyone is helpful. Everyone has a moment to talk if you need help or a break. Oh also… it’s a creative and textured space filled with light and the smell of coffee and green plants.”
Dogs are allowed, so if you’re not a pooch pal, it may not be for you.
£££ Prices start at £30pcm for two days a month, but Tribe throws in lots of extras.
WeWork, George Street, Edinburgh
WeWork is in 151 cities across 38 countries, so it’s one of the bigger players. In George Street, Edinburgh, it offers co-working space with an incredible view and various areas to choose from, from cosy to communal.
We love the art and indoor plants in the common areas, and the wooden floors and furniture soften the utilitarian look. And there’s clearly a healthy community vibe here, as revealed by one recent reviewer, who praised the facilities but added: “Love the social side to the space.”
They say location is everything, and being in the heart of the city, 10 minutes’ walk from Waverley Train Station is a distinct plus. This modern workspace is ideal if you need to be near finance, education, or Edinburgh’s art sectors, but it is pricey.
£££ £270 per month for WeWork All Access after one month’s free trial.
Hubflow in Belfast
If you’re looking for cool space with quality Wi-Fi and decent coffee, Hubflow in the Gallery Building is the place. You can book a hot desk for as little as £15 a day or a month for £75.
Hubflow opened its co-working space in the city centre in September 2020 and aimed it at tech start-ups, freelancers, and entrepreneurs looking to keep costs down. We like its ‘community of self-improvement’ idea, with networking, conferences, seminars and open forums just some of the exclusive events.
Its industrial-style practicality is balanced with lush plants and plenty of natural light, which give you a connection to nature that’s proven to increase performance by 10-25%.
£ At £75 a month, Lite Desk membership gives you two days a week full access to co-working space.
Instant Offices, High Street, Belfast
With a prime position on Belfast’s vibrant High Street, this co-working environment provides a hard-to-beat escape from the sometimes isolated experience of a home office or coffee shop
Hosted by an eye-catching, glass-fronted building, the amenities inside – such as a roof terrace, a large club lounge and an in-house café – add to the sense this is a special place to share workspace.
And for a bit of lunchtime or after-work socialising, the city’s best shops, bars and eateries are all within walking distance.
£££ The cost of a fixed desk is £250 per person a month.