How we work on the go
Since the turn of the year we have led an itinerant lifestyle. Opting to keep costs down to the bare minimum, we spend little on anything outside of salaries and software. So with this in mind, we elected to be free. To start a new chapter in every sense. And to experiment with working on the go. It required changes in how we work and it meant finding somewhere to work. This has proved both surprisingly difficult, and also quite eye-opening to how the world has changed whilst we have been shut away in our office all these years. This is my list of the top 5 cafe working locations so far. And you may be surprised by number 1.
There would also prove to be knock-on benefits of having no office. Being free to work anywhere has seen us get out and explore, to see things we would have missed before. It has also encouraged us to be more conscious of our space, or lack of it. No space to fill means being more aware of what you do need to take with you. Freedom in so many ways.
Something of a hipster classic and one we had used before, so it was a natural place to go back to early on. We used the one in Covent Garden, and it’s a decent place to work. Once you walk in you are surrounded by laptops (Mac books of course), and you know you will be OK to find a table, settle in and work for a few hours. Given that the woman on the table next to us was clearly conducting a series of interviews it was fair to say this is a relaxed place when it comes to it being your office for a few hours.
Good for – plug points, coffee and cakes, hipster credit. Bad for – a bit cramped, a bit busy
Something of a hidden gem, to me anyway. I had been told of this place but it really is worth checking out. Euston Road is not the most exciting part of London, for sure, but slip inside The Wellcome Collection and you will find a big open café. Find a quiet table in the corner, and it is quite an agreeable place to while away a few hours. There’s a café, even a very nice gift and book shop which you can occasionally let your eyes wander over to if you sit at the far end – window shopping and working at the same time.
Good for – Nice setting, nice café, nice shop. Bad for – plug points, could be busy
There is also the bonus of The Reading Room upstairs, a truly unique space. Is this the most original working space in London? Quite possibly so. It might even have been number 1 except that if there’s two of you it’s not really a good space to talk too much, and I don’t think mobile phones would be encouraged. But if you are on your own and want to work quietly you can find somewhere to tuck yourself away. Recommended.
OK, it’s not a café. Not at all. But it has proved a really good spot for me. I live a 30-35 minute journey from Waterloo, and on my branch line the trains are sparkly and new. And have wi-fi. And if you go after rush hour they are fairly empty. So if I am heading into town that’s a clear hour there and back working rather than idly looking at my phone or out of the window. Short and sweet, but productive.
Good for – plug points, a view. Bad for – very public, no coffee.
Based in the old Fulham Broadway tube station this was another early venue that Jo suggested. It has been sympathetically restored, especially the bar in the old ticket office (no drinking that early in the day, that’s a slippery slope I avoided). It was big enough and quiet enough (pre-lunch) to be undisturbed and it was a nice little venue. The people behind it also have a similar place in Victoria and a new one opening near Oxford Circus. We need to try them out.
Good for – inspiring place to work, coffee and cake. Bad for – plug points, might get busy later on?
Yes, who would have thought it? Our current café working office of choice happens to be the Swedish retail megalith better known for its Billy shelves and meatballs. To be fair I suggested IKEA almost out of desperation for somewhere to meet. We live at opposite ends of the Piccadilly line and whilst that should in theory make meeting quite easy, it also means you either meet centrally (do you know how much a daily travelcard costs from Zone 4 to Zone 1?) or a long trip to the other end of the line for one of us.
So a quick look at the map led to the idea that we could meet at IKEA. After all, it is almost exactly half way. It has a car park. It has wi-fi. It has a café. It is cheap. And during the week it is actually quite quiet. Find a booth tucked away in the corner, grab a cheap cup of coffee, and you can work for a few hours whilst watching people loop round and round the car park looking for a space. A quick lunch (no, not meatballs actually) and you can get away with a minimal budget. With an IKEA family card the tea and coffee are free. Obviously you then spend £50 on tealights and wine glasses in the shop afterwards…
Pros – Cheap, good wi-fi, quiet, easy for us to meet, you can pop into the shop afterwards.
Cons – A bit basic especially on the coffee and food front, not very inspiring, means you have to drive, you might pop into the shop afterwards!
If you liked our Top 5 Cafe Working Locations In London then you might be interested in how to set up a virtual office. Watch this space – new post coming soon on this.