Category Archives: Spaces

Tired of going to office? Find yourself a new one!

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In a search of a coworking space in London.

Holidays are finally over and its time to go back to the office. Thousands of people were dreading coming back to work this week and wishing they could at least work from home to avoid facing the reality for longer.

I don’t have to go to office this week, but I feel you, people. Office is not (always) for everyone. But so is home office. I always envied people who could use their home as office, properly focus and get things done. I manage, but I have to fight hundreds of distractions, and managing time or focusing is not always easy. I prefer to have a desk and a white noise in a place that is not mine to distract me. I like to have people around. But not always people I work with. So I used to crash local coffee shops and just use it as my working desk. Luckily, a lot of modern workplaces offer flexibility of working from where ever you wish, as long as the work is done. And luckily urban co-working spaces are up and coming.

I remember when I was a student and wanted to write an essay in the coffee shop, I was reminded that “this is not a library”. Fortunately, the times have changed and now you’re welcomed with the laptop and provided a free wifi at variety of places. My hometown Kyiv saw few amazing spaces being created last year to host entrepreneurs, remote workers and other wondering souls. Vibrant, dynamic, diverse, they attract lots of creative and restless people. Still mostly for the young, therefore they are very reasonably priced and flexible to attract the crowd.

A quick search in London gave a big variety of choices, mostly with a monthly rate and are offering wide range of services from a free shredder to a gym access or even a nursery. If you want to leave a family picture and a favourite mug, you can even have a permanent desk or if you need flexibility – rent it by day/hour. Check out wiki.coworking.com or www.sharedesk.net. Here’s also a good review from Deskmag.

And did you know you can also work in the legendary Google London campus? You can drop in as a visitor (cafe only) or apply for Google campus residency for wider access.

But what I am looking for is a drop-in option and all I really need is a table, free wifi and a cool atmosphere. I’d also like it to be just down the street.  In that case Worksnug is a valuable resource, where you can find the nearest “laptop friendly space”, mostly cafes with free wifi and confortable desks (rated by other users). They also have an app!

Coworking spaces though are not only relevant for entrepreneurs. For smaller companies its a great way to keep the office costs down, for companies that follow their customers its a way to have a temporary, well-equipped office in the required location etc. It’s flexible, someone takes care of the little things, you can choose the design/atmosphere you like and you can meet some new interesting people!

And here’s an idea for benefits packages! Many employees will be happy to work from coworking spaces (less distractions, no need to have office desk at home etc) once in a while, so why not offer a monthly subscription in a coworking space of choice? I’d be up for it!

So if you ever think of dodging your office, but not staying in your pyjamas either, here’s where you can find a suitable place in London that will host you and your laptop:

https://www.deskwanted.com/uk/london/coworking.html
http://www.worksnug.com/
http://wiki.coworking.com/w/page/16583562/CoworkingLondon
http://www.sharedesk.net/search/list/london

 

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Coffee Machine: your new strategic location

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What would you call the most important place in an office? The most important spaces in an office are not the boardroom, nor your own desk. In fact, most important places are those where a company’s executives aren’t regularly hanging out. But you’re busy, I know that. So I’ll just tell you.

The most important places are the places where ideas are born. Not where they are executed, polished, reviewed and approved. Where they are born. Ideas that potentially will take your company to another level, or at least move you forward. And where do ideas come from, you ask? Coffee machines.

The space around coffee machines is long known to be a creativity hub. “Let’s go get a coffee” you’d say to a colleague to go bounce off some thoughts casually. Or bump into someone unexpected and catch up on what they’re doing. However you look at it – the coffee machine is a place outside of routine. And breaking the routine is potential inspiration.

How to make it a creativity hub?

  • Make sure there’s enough space for people to hang out without creating a corridor traffic jam or occupying the coffee machine for half an hour. Create space; put a couple of chairs and a small coffee table. Do not encourage a ‘get your coffee fast and go back to your desk’ behaviour. Let people talk!
  • Encourage people to take coffee breaks by offering good coffee (or a good range of tea). Connecting people from different projects and departments can be a hard task with great benefits, so don’t be cheap on this one.
  • What’s on the wall next to a coffee machine? While waiting for coffee to pour, I often read what’s around (if there is no one to talk to). Place some ideas boosters. But not company propaganda. You don’t leave your desk to go to a coffee machine in order to find what your mailbox is already full of. Make it a break – some industry news, some office projects, some crazy ideas from management magazines? Or maybe even leave it up to employees and ask them to share stuff on an empty cork board.

And when next time ‘Creativity’ or ‘Networking’ are on your board meeting’s agenda as issues preventing you going forward, – maybe there are easier solutions to this problem you can think of.