Coworking, collaborating and celebrating
We LOVE coworking. Surevine set out to be a remote-only company and kit out every employee with everything they need to make their home workspace the best they have ever worked in, but we also recognise that for some people that doesn’t work, so we insist that everyone has a local coworking space membership that they can make use of as often as they need. Seeing as it’s International Coworking Day today, we thought we’d let you know what our favourite coworking spaces are across the country (in no particular order of course).
We’ve always been a fan of WeWork, moving into their first ever London office at Southbank in 2014. After being part the WeWork family for 4 years, we decided to move to Plexal, but we can proudly say we are now back at WeWork at their new Waterloo offices: the world’s largest coworking space.
It would be a fair statement to say we’ve tried most WeWorks in London, and then there’s the global offices. We use a WeWork in SOMA San Francisco as our Bay Area office, a WeWork in downtown DC as our Beltway office and we’ve used WeWorks across the world from Tokyo, New York City, Madrid, Portland/Oregon to Tel Aviv (one has its own lab!). From the start, we knew WeWork was perfect for us with our own office space encased in glass allowing lots of natural light and still the opportunity to feel part of a community. WeWork has evolved over the years. Coffee is now provided by a great barista, free beer on tap now often includes prosecco and cider, and every week there’s something going on for the community.
A key to the success of WeWork are the Community Managers who make the whole thing work well. One slight downside is uniformity – most places seem quite similar. That’s what’s great about smaller, independent coworking spaces. Something like work.life in Reading works so well because they have free breakfast crumpets/bagels with all the toppings available everyday and the community is small enough for community lunches/pizza and beer nights to feel more small scale, like a real community.
Let us know if you plan on visiting and drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Workplace, Cheltenham
With some of our team and clients based around Cheltenham, having a decent coworking space was a must have. We spoke to Claire Storey, Founder of The Workplace about what makes it different from the rest:
“I love great design but most offices just seemed so uninspiring to me, I felt there had to be a better way to work alongside like-minded people.
Introducing THE WORKPLACE.We invested in Herman Miller chairs, electric height adjustable desks, and even a desk bike allowing people to exercise and work! We’ve also used compressed bamboo for desks, booths and pods making the place quirky, eco and seriously hard wearing. From cyber security experts to stuntmen and authors, we’ve a huge variety of members, which gives the place a real buzz.
Getting a work life balance is at the top of everyone’s wish list, so working alongside like-minded, motivated people in a supremely comfortable environment helps makes it all a little bit better, and that was our aim from the start”
As we have a few members of our team based in Nottingham, they went on the hunt to find the perfect space where they could meet up every so often and cowork. MinorOak was their solution, with iced coffees and even celebratory cocktails for International Coworking Day, and Dee, the manager, makes it truly welcoming.
“Coworking gives you a place to work away from the distractions of home. Coworking can get you out walking, biking, and exploring. But most importantly, it gives you an easy, relaxed way to meet new people. It’s those chance encounters at a coworking space that can help you find new ways to approach challenges and point you in new directions: that synchronicity. And it’s also about a sense of fun you seldom get in a conventional workplace. When you’re working alone, sometimes you need to go out and find your people.”
Coworking in Bristol
Bristol has always been a little special, almost like a second HQ as we have often had lots of people working for us from the SW. We’ve had loads of spaces from
- The Spike – which was inspirational because of the amount of light and the fact it was mostly used by creatives;
- Engine Shed – right at Bristol Temple Meads – great because of it’s location but also links with Bristol University and the IoD
- Arnolfini – our first space in Bristol had awesome views across Bristol from this iconic building
Before our current stint at WeWork, we were based for the year at Plexal. What was once the Press Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games was been transformed into a bustling mini-city complete with its own indoor park, high street, town hall and a room dedicated to making and prototyping.
Plexal is dedicated to tech startups and scaleups, giving them plenty of quiet spots like our snugs and phone booths to get their head down and work, but also lots of opportunities to talk to the right people and get the advice they need from the professional services companies based at Plexal.
Plexal is also home to the London Office for Rapid Cyber Advancement (or LORCA) and how we became part of the Plexal team. LORCA is a government-backed cybersecurity programme which aims to help innovative companies meet industry’s challenges. Being part of LORCA meant we got the chance to work alongside some of the most exciting innovative work taking place in cybersecurity, from businesses fresh out of accelerators like Cylon in London and GCHQ’s accelerator in Cheltenham. It was a bit further out of London than we were used to, but being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurial technologists was certainly something we will miss.
Coworking is certainly bigger and better than ever before. There are far too many spaces to list in just one blog, but we know that there are more spaces to continue to discover and we can’t wait to try them out!
We’ll leave you with a few more of the interesting coworking spaces that we’ve had some involvement with:
- RocketDesk in Guildford, the “Hollywood” of the Computer gaming industry – RocketDesk naturally attracts people from that field.
- Eastern Foundry in Crystal City, VA – “Where Government meets coworking” – specifically founded to support SMEs to do business with US Federal Government
- Moz Space – a space for open source Mozilla community in London. Surevine have sponsored many events here. Has a brilliant beer fridge and breakfast bar.
- Kingsford Office – this is on the list just because it’s in Edinburgh
- THIS Workspace – because it is housed in the iconic Art Deco masterpiece of the former Echo building in Bournemouth
You can read a bit more about our journey through the coworking spaces that we’ve called home for the past 10 years in our previous blog, Coworking, London Style.