The big moment is finally here – you and your co-founders have decided to take the plunge and bring that great business idea to life. Now all you need is a company logo, a catchy slogan and somewhere to work from (we wish!). There are heaps of office spaces throughout London designed for startups looking for short term and low-cost leases.
But what can you expect to find in these offices? For startups who are new to the shared office game, we’ve put together a list of 25 things you can expect to find in your new office space – and if you can’t find any of these things, we’d be slightly worried!
1. Exposed brick
No office is cool enough unless it has at least one wall of exposed brick. How are you expected to come up with big ideas if you’re not working in a building that was once a cotton mill? Many warehouses in areas such as Shoreditch and Tobacco Dock have been transformed into the hippest co-working offices in the city.
2. Eclectic furniture
It’s vintage, it’s retro, it’s eclectic. Mismatched furniture is all the rage in co-working spaces as it means it doesn’t matter if one thing is not like the other – it’s ‘the look’.
3. Motivational posters
Don’t panic – most hip and cool office spaces have seen past the cliche of proud lions and men climbing rocks and now choose posters that are a little more hipster. You will spend your day surrounded by witty quotes and reminders to STAY CALM for f**S sake.
4. Ping pong or fußball
We all know that exercise is good for you and taking time out from your day to whack a bouncy ball across a table at your colleague is a great way to release some tension. Many co-working spaces provide some sort of table-based-sporting-activity to help get those creative juice flowing or just because ping pong is actually pretty damn FUN.
5. Fully equipped kitchens
Many co-working spaces have kitchens fitted out with more gadgets, machines, utensils and ‘what even is that?’s than Gordon Ramsay has ever dreamed of. You could whip up a three course gourmet meal for all of your office buddies every night. Well, at least make them a coffee with that clever little Nespresso machine.
6. Hang out zones
Hang out zones, also known as chill out areas, breakaway spaces or lounges are places in offices where you go and chillax. Yes, chill and relax at the same time. This is where you’ll meet lots of other interesting budding business folk setting up startups. Let the networking begin…
7. Stand up desks
Before you roll your eyes at the weirdo in the corner using a standup desk, have you ever tried it? Studies show that stand up desks can make you far more productive and far less fat. They can also prolong your life apparently… check out this beautiful birch model from our friends at StandHQ
8. Apple laptops
Let’s face it, Apple has won the ‘Preferred laptop brand for creative types’ war and you will see rows of glowing apples in every co-working space you venture into. You may receive some confused looks if you dare to whip out your Dell.
Behind the apples, you will discover a menagerie of facial hair, all of varying lengths, strengths, colours and styles. The creative freelance world is a beardtastic place and you may need to work on moustache shaping skills (sorry, ladies).
10. A large proportion of men
Speaking of a proliferation of beards, this also highlights the fact that most co-working spaces are predominantly made up of men – particularly if you’re looking at tech focused office spaces. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing depends on how much you like spending time in a room full of boys.
11. Pot plants
A little touch of green can transform a room and add both colour and vital oxygen to a space. Studies have shown that pot plants can make people feel happier and therefore more productive. Just remember to water it.
12. Sega mega drives
Because old school is always best. How better to spend your lunch break than a quick game of Mario World or Mortal Kombat? Finish him!
13. Bean bags
When work gets too much and you just need to take a 15 minute power nap, curl up in a bean bag in the corner of the office. You’re not slacking off – you’re mentally preparing yourself for the onslaught of work you’re going to do in the afternoon.
14. Themed rooms
With so many co-working offices being set up across London, there appears to be a competition for who can come up with the most creative ‘theme’. From interiors of luxury yachts to classrooms to a simple ‘black and white’, the walls, floors, furniture and decorative items will make you believe you really are working in a spaceship.
You can feel like you’re working from your own lounge room sitting a comfy sofa with your laptop on your knees. Most co-working spaces provide alternative work areas such as sofas and comfortable chairs so that you can escape your desk every now and then.
16. Bike storage
Remember those beards we mentioned earlier? Well, with beards comes bikes and they need somewhere to store their Raleighs. Many offices have bike storage facilities included in the rental price.
17. Black/White boards
The key to a good brain-storming session is a decent white board. How else are you supposed to scribble down your incredible ideas while waving your arms around in excitement? Some places even provide those giant post-it notes that you can tear off and stick to walls. Now that’s productivity.
18. Casual clothing
Throw away those uncomfortable collared shirts, high waisted skirts, and that tie you never undo because you can’t remember how to do a Windsor knot. In co-working spaces it’s all about comfortable clothing that you can actually breathe and function in. While wearing your favourite pyjamas might be frowned upon, jeans and tshirts are definitely the uniform of choice.
19. Taxidermy animals
For some inexplicable reason, many co-working spaces will have random stuffed animals placed on shelves as part of the ‘theme’ or general decoration. We can’t explain it so simply suggest you accept this fact and become friends with little Flopsie the rabbit and Boris the bear.
20. Neon signs
Along similar lines to the motivational posters, many offices also have witty and intellectual sayings highlighted in neon tube lighting. Perhaps reading “You only live once” and “It is what it is” in bright orange helps the deep and meaningful message sink in faster. We hope so.
21. Large windows
No one wants to work in the dark and many offices have knocked down walls and reconfigured spaces to include large windows that open the space up to the outside world. This is particularly useful if you want to know whether or not you need to take your umbrella with you when you go for lunch.
22. One slightly annoying person
While you’re going to meet some amazing, inspirational and life-changing people, there’ll always be one person in a co-working space who might drive you a little bit nuts. Luckily they only come in on Thursdays so just remember to bring your sound-cancelling headphones that day.
Big desks, small desks, round desks, tall desks, fold-out desks, booth desks, craft desks. Co-working spaces are filled with more kinds of desks than you can possibly imagine. So whether you want to sit alone in a corner or share a large work surface with three other people, there’ll be a desk space that’s just perfect for you.
24. Designer light fittings
Gone are the days of delicate lampshades – now crazy swirly light bulbs hanging from long dangly wires are all the rage in every co-working space and hipster coffee shop. There might also be a giant, industrial spotlight in the corner of the room that is bright enough to light a movie set.
25. REALLY BRIGHT COLOURS
While many co-working offices are choosing to use minimalist furniture and sleek, clean interior decorating, most will then find the brightest shade of lime green, fire engine red or Barney the dinosaur purple and go paint crazy. You might need to bring a pair of sunglasses to avoid being overwhelmed by the Barbie pink feature wall you sit facing for 8 hours a day.
We think we’ve managed to include everything but if there’s anything glaring we’ve missed, let us know and we’ll add it to the list!