It's common knowledge that spending eight hours a day in a grey, cramped office makes us less motivated, less productive, and unhappy.
The positive effects that open-plan spaces, natural light and flexible work setups have on the way we work are clear - and many companies have been taking notes: it's becoming more and more common for businesses to build attractive offices that employees love coming to every morning (and showing off on Instagram, no doubt).
And co-working spaces, which have been cropping up in their multitudes, are no exception to this change: there are more start-ups and SMEs in the capital than ever before, and it's safe to say that most of them want to establish themselves in an office space that invites and inspires.
Some spaces have gone above and beyond with the design of their space. Here are 15 coworking spaces that we think really stand out!
We’re kicking off our list with Uncommon, which has four co-working spaces across London. Uncommon’s spaces are remarkable for the way they incorporate the natural world: with inviting zen gardens, large windows, and over 1,000 plants at each location, residents are rarely too far from the stimulating elements of nature.
What stands out most to us about Uncommon’s spaces is just how many elements their designs take into account: the abundance of plants, natural light, and calming colour scheme that mixes lighter with darker tones, instantly create a tranquil, breathable atmosphere. Yet the subtle infusion of soothing scents and specially selected music enhance this ambience in ways that most of us would never think of.
Uncommon earns a spot on our list for the way it has created beautiful and peaceful spaces for its residents to feel comfortable and motivated to work.
We took a holistic approach to the design, focussing on the small details to create an environment that’s dedicated to wellness. Every element works so seamlessly with each other, providing a space that offers our members a truly unique experience every day. Each space has evolved since Uncommon first opened its doors in 2014, and it is amazing to see how far we have come in such a short space of time.Tania AdirCo-Founder - Uncommon
First set up in an out-of-use church hall, ARK offers a space for freelancers to come together and build a community. Now based in a former Victorian apartment block in King’s Cross, ARK’s core mission to create a collaborative and supportive group of entrepreneurs has grown from strength to strength. Through several initiatives, such as spARK and ARK for Good, ARK and its members are making a positive impact on their local community.
The ARK community is housed in a beautiful space - the Victorian build, upcycled furniture and layout of the shared desks make ARK feel like a productive space. The decor is simple but stylish, and the period features, such as the fireplaces and windows, create a sense of atmosphere. The smaller space gives ARK a homely feel that fits this community-focused workspace perfectly.
With an admirable mission and beautiful workspace, ARK has definitely earned a place on our list!
Community is at the centre of everything we do - our mission is to tackle isolation in our city by providing a space for those who cannot otherwise afford a place to work. We love our local area, which is why we encourage our members to give back, whether that be with a donation or by dedicating their time and skills to community projects. We have designed ARK to be a space that inspires creativity and gives creatives, social enterprises and startups a place to feel at home.
Nick JohnsonCo-Founder - ARK Coworking
Up next is Another Place (formerly known as Beehive), which is based in Stoke Newington. Another Place was designed with creatives and freelancers in mind: with 18 large desks in this former shop, Another Place is an appropriately busy space that hums with productivity. With a comparatively compact workspace, Another Place is an excellent place for freelancers and up-and-comers who are looking to join a tight-knit, interconnected community.
Another Place makes fantastic use of its space: the desks, kitchen, and break area fit comfortably into the single workshop. The layout, hardwood desks and exposed brickwork create a stylish aesthetic and give the space a suitably industrious feel. The decor is minimalist, but not devoid of personality - the shelves that line the walls are home to pleasing artworks and plenty of plants. The glass front, with a sizeable frosted strip, welcomes plenty of natural light whilst allowing members to work in privacy.
The space itself is what makes us stand out: Another Place is part of a beautifully renovated Victorian warehouse and our design aesthetic has always been to incorporate the industrial with a modern minimalist edge. As a relatively small space with only 20 members, we all know each other well and regularly get together for film screenings, pub nights and social events. Another Place is a real community!David NormanFounder - Another Place
Of all the workspaces on our list, it is the next one that, arguably, has the most distinctive colour scheme: you can’t go too far in any of Huckletree's four London locations without seeing at least a splash of vivid colour somewhere.
The use of vibrant colours, whether it be a strip of yellow on a chair or a lime-green meeting room, creates a sense of energy and urgency, which undoubtedly must encourage members to put the pedal to the metal and make things happen!
A key feature of Huckletree’s workspaces is their auditoriums - as an accelerator that emphasises collaboration and community, these central spaces are the colourful heart of each building, where weekly events are held.
With an atmosphere as lively as the design, Huckletree is a bright and energetic place where startups and SMEs can flourish.
Huckletree is unique because of the value we place on collaboration - our collective of ambitious entrepreneurs, startups and growing business is at the heart of everything we do. “Staying human” is our core value, and our community culture stands out to our members from the minute they join. We’re thrilled to be opening two new locations this summer and are excited about partnering with PUBLIC to launch PUBLIC Hall, a gov-tech hub in Westminster.Natalie SimpsonMarketing Assistant - Huckletree
The next entry is the smallest on our list, but is no worse for it: Winkley Studios is a charming open-plan space in Bethnal Green with 16 desks.
The generously sized windows and white walls allow plenty of natural light into the rooms, creating a bright workspace where members feel motivated to work. The furniture is a mixture of upcycled, vintage, and modern, adding to the homely quality of the space. A decked backyard and private shed provide members with the opportunity to withdraw from the main studio for important meetings or to grab some fresh air when they need a break.
Winkley is designed to be a home-away-from-home for its members. With an integrated kitchen, comfortable seating areas and close quarters, the workspace has a truly cosy feel to it. Winkley Studios really is a place where freelancers can feel at home.
We are really flexible - people can come and use our space for a single day, a few hours or on weekends. Having loads of windows across both sides of the studio space means that we have lots of natural light pouring into the studio and the vintage furniture makes the space feel homely. Being a small independent workspace also gives us a more unique vibe than some of the big branded coworking spaces. It's pretty calm and quiet in the space, but everyone's really friendly too and there's a fair bit of banter sometimes!Leo WoodDirector - Winkley Studios
Next up is Runway East, which has spaces in Moorgate, London Bridge and Soho. The exposed wood panelling, brickwork and ceiling vents in some of Runway’s rooms create a stylish yet industrious, purposeful feel to the space - a perfect vibe for getting work done. The darker colour scheme that accompanies some of these rooms is countered by the glass wall-dividers and large windows, which fill every space with natural light.
Many of Runway East’s rooms lend themselves to productivity, but not so far as to take the fun out of going to work: ping-pong and football tables, fairy lights, and brightly patterned furniture are just some of the features that add a light, relaxed feel to these workspaces.
With “Engine Rooms” for talks and seminars and a café/bar for winding down, Runway East has certainly mastered the balance between focus and fun in serious business.
Runway East can best be described as innovative, energetic and playful. We bond, we workshop, we laugh, and we give startups the support and energy they need to succeed. Designing the spaces is always a blast for us, and we strive to create unique, collaborative and fun environments where great things can happen. We’ll have four new sites across the country by 2020, so it’s an exciting time for us!Jacob FisherHead of Marketing - Runway East
Main Yard Studios
The crew behind this set of co-working offices transform neglected warehouses into the perfect spaces for independent creatives. At Main Yard Studios, this comes in the form of communal spaces, shared offices, and purpose-built rooms for musicians, videographers, designers, and artisans.
By keeping the warehouse aesthetic intact, Main Yard has created spaces that have a busy, productive vibe. Main Yard wears its dedication to creativity with pride, especially at its Hackney Wick location, where the outside walls are covered with amazing artwork.
The interior decor is not only tailored to the varied needs of different creatives but is stylish and mature as well. An abundance of plants adds colour and the large windows offer plenty of natural light, brightening up the communal spaces and private offices alike. The muted colour scheme is peppered with vibrant coloured features, adding a cheeky hint of fun that proves that those at Main Yard take their work, but not themselves, seriously.
The variety of creative skills located in any given location is what makes Main Yard unique: we have coworking, maker studios, small offices, and music studios all under one roof. We’re proud of the feelings that our spaces evoke - they are welcoming, calm and productive, and offer a place for deeply loving and supportive relationships to be made. Buildings number 5 and 6 are on the way - they’ll be opening in around 4-5 weeks time, and we cannot wait!Remi LandazCo-Founder - Main Yard Studios
Founder James Layfield set up Central Working after his own experience of starting a company. James found that existing co-working spaces just didn’t cut-it for startups and SMEs: many co-working spaces expected far bigger commitments than founders could possibly make; and those that didn’t expect such commitments lacked the sense of community that’s integral to helping an individual build their company. Dissatisfied with both of these options, James decided to take matters into his own hands.
The result is Central Working, which has seven offices across the capital. Central stands out not only for its tailored packages but for its stunning offices as well: with suave colours, ample natural light and stylish, comfortable furniture, Central provides a relaxed and elegant space for individuals and small companies to grow. We think that Central Working’s offices have a really sophisticated look that members must love to work in!
Our unique organisational model isn’t based on the number of desks we sell, but on the valuable business connections we facilitate for our members. Central Working Victoria is a firm favourite in our community: a Grade II listed, former Victorian electricity substation, it was refurbished into a shared workspace where every element is designed to encourage collaboration. Future clubs are currently in the works, and we’re looking forward to bringing more people together at our new locations.Grant Powell CEO - Central Working
Born out of the desire to make working as enjoyable as - well, not being at work - Work.Life’s offices certainly look like places we’d want to be every Monday to Friday!
Each of Work.Life’s eight offices are light, engaging spaces that incorporate a mix of bright and muted tones, natural light and plants a-plenty to create inviting venues. With an emphasis on creating a community where everyone can feel at ease (pets are not just invited, but encouraged), Work.Life is an ideal place for startups, small businesses and freelancers alike to meet their work goals.
We think that Work.Life’s focus on wellbeing and job satisfaction is clearly reflected in the design of their offices: with fashionable and unique designs and a dedicated support network, Work.Life certainly provides an inviting space that makes going to work something to look forward to.
Our purposefully smaller spaces naturally facilitate a strong community culture. This is made even stronger by our membership teams and the relationships they build with our members. They know everyone’s (and their dog’s) name and genuinely care about them and their business’s success.Sarah Mourtada SichHead of Marketing - Work.Life
Named after the plural of “forum,” Fora aspires to offer its members “a place to be brilliant.” Judging by the design of their eight (and counting) London spaces, they have certainly achieved this!
The communal spaces are open and airy, and filled with light. The furniture is plush and inviting, and the break rooms are astonishingly stylish and cosy. The use of a slightly darker colour scheme in some of the rooms adds a sense of sophistication and calm, and this tranquillity is enhanced by the inclusion of plant life: greenery is generously incorporated into Fora’s design features and furniture. The comfortable atriums serve as a focal point for Fora members to come together to share and gain insight and the open roof terraces are fantastic places to get a breath of fresh air.
With such brilliant spaces, Fora must bring out the brilliance of its community!
Based in the “Silicon Valley of tech,” TMRW Hub is a space where the future leaders of the tech industry can set up base. It’s an expansive space, with vibrant meeting rooms, private offices, and open communal areas. TMRW has a fittingly futuristic feel to it, but it doesn’t compromise the natural elements that are crucial to working well: there is plenty of light and a vast amount of plant life in this Croydon-based hub.
It’s definitely not a case of all-work-and-no-play at this tech hub, with hammocks (yes, really) and the award-winning in-house Byte Cafe that offers members a homely retreat when they fancy a break. TMRW also puts on an array of events for their members to enjoy, including talks from industry experts, community breakfasts, and yoga.
With a fantastic space and much to offer, TMRW Hub is a co-working space of the future!
Ofcourse we had to include WeWork on our list! Their offices have been springing up around the capital quicker than you can say “coworking space.” It’s hardly surprising when you consider the vibe WeWork’s offices create: with large communal spaces, custom-made art pieces, and floods of natural light, WeWork provides excellent bases for up-and-coming enterprises to take their next steps.
With a mission to “create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living” WeWork certainly puts an emphasis on making their workspaces inviting and comfortable. With expansive desks, plush furniture in their communal spaces, and bright walls decorated with even brighter artwork, WeWork’s spaces are vibrant and stimulating.
Community plays a big part too - WeWork uses its own social network to update members on all the goings on in their building. This includes the range of free events on offer, from HIIT sessions to a monthly pub quiz. WeWork certainly knows how to make fantastic coworking spaces, and has made a great home for TalentPool over the last year!
Next on our list is AllBright, a collective designed by and for women. With a name inspired by Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State, AllBright is a community that strives to give entrepreneurial women the tools and support they need to develop their businesses; with such beautiful workspaces, are don’t doubt that AllBright provides an inspiring environment where its members can achieve great things.
Each and every room in AllBright’s two London locations are decorated to the height of sophistication, from the carpet to the light fittings. Members can enjoy the feeling of calm and luxury that comes with the fine decor, whether they are working, socialising, or taking time to relax.
Offering workshops, mentorship, and community in these two beautiful spaces, AllBright is a wonderful place for hardworking and driven women to gain new skills and grow in confidence.
The future is very much now at the next entry on our list: with vibrant colour schemes, bright atriums, and offices divided into glass-walled pods, Second Home’s spaces feel new and exciting. Not only are the offices integrated into the communal spaces, but parts of Second Home even extend beyond the buildings’ dimensions, merging into the outside world.
Home also has some pretty jaw-dropping features: the curved staircase at their Spitalfields branch is a real statement piece. The inclusion of plants and trees (1,000 inhabit the offices, corridors, and communal spaces of each location) means that, for all the futuristic decor, Second Home and it’s residents don’t lose touch with the natural world. The space even has its own bookshop, Libreria, which is open to members and the public alike.
The spaces also have some pretty kooky design features that we imagine make the working day feel more fun! (Where else would you find a ceiling made of hats?)
Last, but certainly not least, is Headspace Group, which has two locations in London. Both spaces stretch from a subterranean floor to the attic, with bright, open-plan shared areas and stylish private offices and meeting rooms. The furniture is cleverly placed and inviting, with cosy nooks for solo work and practical but comfortable seating in collaborative spaces.
Headspace uses thoroughly modern designs to create spaces for the modern worker: the glass wall-dividers and generous windows fill the offices with natural light and communal areas are decorated with unique (and very jazzy) wall features. However, the histories of each building have not been completely erased - original features, such as the beautiful staircase and marble-effect pillars at the Farringdon office, remain intact, giving the spaces a feeling of prestige.
With such beautiful spaces to work in, we certainly imagine that members can keep clear heads (sorry!) and a clear focus on their work!