As we count down the arrival of our latest co-working space in London’s beautiful Bermondsey, we’d like to share with you our philosophy on co-working, and why we strive to make Work.Life a co-working space with soul.
Many members of the Work.Life team have spent time working in offices across London and Europe. We don’t really need to go into the benefits of co-working here, but on any list you’ll find about why you should give it a go, being part of a community is pretty much guaranteed to be near the top.
Sadly, in reality, this isn’t always the case. While spaces may be beautiful and full of incredible people, we found that many we had experienced often lacked intimacy and connection, meaning that the true community atmosphere we craved just wasn’t there.
From the beginning, we decided that building a community was at the heart of what we wanted to do – and that any space we moved into needed to reflect that.
We first launched with a small office in Camden. It filled up quickly, and people seemed to love the intimate feel of it – we still have a high member retention rate there and a bustling community of local freelancers and start-ups mixing with big businesses like MTV and Dr. Martens.
Then, we headed East, and launched in London Fields earlier this year – and have had a very similar response – we’ve been told by many members that the intimacy of our spaces is just what they’ve been looking for.
Now we’re just weeks away from moving into an amazing former warehouse in Bermondsey, a location that fits our ethos perfectly: creative, good transport links, and close to where people actually live (as well as sandwiched between two markets!)
At Work.Life, we believe that community should never be sacrificed for size
All of our offices are maximum 10,000 square feet – and we won’t take anything bigger. That size may sound abstract to you, but consider this: many other co-working spaces in London don’t start any smaller than 30,000 square feet.
With these huge spaces, it can be easy create an atmosphere where nobody really knows the person working beside them, and that sense of belonging and community just isn’t able to thrive. It defeats one of the major purposes of a co-working space.
Choosing small spaces does not mean that we limit the size, scope or diversity of our membership, but that we create an even spread of micro-workspaces across London, and all of our members are given access to each and every one of our sites.
It’s important to remember that most people choose to go freelance to increase quality of life, and it’s vital that co-working helps to tackle the anonymity and isolation that can come with working alone. That’s why we choose buildings and grow communities that are conducive to happiness, on every level. Our spaces are warm and welcoming – some might even say, homely!
As we continue to grow, maintaining close relations and a friendly, supportive environment is and will always be one of our primary objectives. We achieve this through our superb management team, whose primary focus is the happiness and support of our members. They also arrange regular meet-ups and social events to offer both business development opportunities and networking, as well as fun and food. We’re currently gearing up for a whole series of wellness activities before and after Christmas to help our members stay both mentally and physically in tip top shape during the festive season.
Aside from the social events, there’s something extraordinarily encouraging about getting to know like-minded people with a range of different experiences in a supportive working environment. Exchanging reassuring “Don’t worry, I’ve been there” stories around the coffee machine is certainly beneficial to emotional well-being (as is amazing locally brewed coffee and onsite yoga!) but might also provide useful advice to help guide a business in the right direction. Our members build friendships and, naturally, help one another to grow and succeed. Many have met at a hot-desking table and formed partnerships to work together on projects.
It’s exciting for the Work.Life team to watch freelancers and small businesses as they work together, build confidence and grow. We believe that our small intimate spaces play a huge role in this – and we are proud to say that we are a workplace with soul.