Coworking and shared office space in London – what’s the difference?
Unless you’re an office space nerd (like us) you may not know or care about the technical distinctions between shared office space and coworking space. In fact, many of the small offices for rent on our platform blur the line between the two. So it’s important to view any office you’re considering, to get a feel for what the coworking or shared office space setup offers, in each particular case.
In general, however, similarities include:
- Flexible terms and short term contracts – which makes it easier to find the right space without tying yourself to a long term lease
- Plug and play – you can usually sit down and start working instantly
- Low costs – the trade-off you make in sharing space often means you get an office in London for far less than you’d pay for private facilities
Shared offices are:
- Usually a combination of private offices and fixed desks, so you don’t have to clear your desk at the end of the day, a la hot desking
- On the sliding scale of relaxed vs professional, shared offices are more professional
- Often (although certainly not always) sublets, with existing occupants offering vacant space at great value
- Less likely to offer structured collaboration or networking sessions with fellow workers – you’ll need to make those connections yourself
Find out more about the benefits of shared offices.
Coworking offices are:
- Often fixed desks, but can also include hot desks
- Invariably spaces with a great look and feel
- Designed for collaboration and often have a real community feel. You may find regular beer, pizza, gin or coffee-based events, helping you connect with like-minded professionals
- On the sliding scale of relaxed vs professional, they’re usually more relaxed
Find out more about coworking.
What makes a great coworking or shared office space?
Think of it as a Venn diagram of the following three essential elements. Find a small office to rent that falls in the sweet spot where all these elements connect, and you’ve got a prime candidate for a coworking space that works for you:
Business: Yes, it’s great to be able to drop an adjective like ‘cool’, ‘funky’ or ‘edgy’ before the description of your office, but ultimately you’re there to do business. So the design and layout of the office, the quality of the equipment and support services need to support that. Inspirational surroundings are important, but first and foremost they need to be functional.
Convenience: How do the office’s location, amenities and transport links support you, your team and your clients?
Community: In our experience, communities grow organically within shared office space. Sometimes there are structures to help foster community spirit (Tuesday morning networking in the breakout area; the Thursday lunchtime quiz etc.), but even without the social support, you’ll almost inevitably find yourself in a growing, evolving community. The question is, is it the right community for you?
To find out, make sure that when you visit the office, you take time to chat with some of the people who are there, and get a feel for the likely collaborations and opportunities you may be able to explore. Just as importantly, assess the vibe you get from the place and ask yourself if it’s somewhere you think you could enjoy working.
The best small office spaces for rent near me
Every month, we add 120 new offices to what is already London’s single largest source of office space. If searching the thousands of available options feels like looking for a perfectly appointed needle in a haystack, how about a little help? We’ve scoured our database and our experts’ minds for the very best shared office space in London available to rent right now:
Where? Pudding Mill Lane, East London
What? Most shared office space in London gives you a healthy dose of flexibility, but that’s especially the case with Veda, which offers a convenient range of desk setups. And because it’s a sublet, like most of the shared offices in this selection, the price is right too.
Where? Barbican, Central London
What? Inside Craftwork Studios, the event spaces, meeting rooms, breakout areas and more are light, airy havens of exposed steel, wooden flooring and natural light. But it’s hard not to be drawn to what’s happening outside, with the Whitecross Street Market virtually outside your door. You’ll never eat a dull lunch again.
Where? Upper Holloway, North London
What? There’s no shortage of inspirational London offices that deliver on the aesthetic as well as the functional, but it’s rare to find small office design quite this glorious. A converted church that’s already home to creatives, which means you get exceptional surroundings and readymade collaboration in one sweet package.
Where? Old Street, Central London
What? Hot desks, fixed desks, one member of the team or dozens: if flexibility for your London startup is one of the biggest draws to this shared office space, the wide open spaces (inside and out) will be the other. It’s smack in the heart of Shoreditch too.
Where? Er, Camden Town, North London
What? Camden Town may be busy, bustling and rarely peaceful, but you’d never know it when you base yourself in this new, industrial-style office development. Close to the High Street yet with a surprisingly secluded feel, you’re two minutes from the nearest tube station, yet you could be a world away.
Where? Victoria, Central London
What? Community. It’s one of the crucial features of coworking and shared office spaces, and you get it by the bucketload in this buzzing development of thriving (and genuinely friendly) small businesses. Add in location and a want-to-fill-fast discount price, and it’s tailormade for startups.
Where? Bethnal Green, East London
What? The clue’s in the name in this surprisingly spacious container, which you’ll be sharing with the small design team who already call it home. It’s the sort of space we’d urge you to check out in person because there’s a lovely feel to Containerville, backed by an equally lovely price.
Where? Kennington Road, London (unsurprisingly)
What? Choose hot desks or fixed desks in this lively 24/7 office space that already boasts a cosy community of architects, construction and development businesses. There’s no shortage of coffee shops, restaurants and pubs nearby for client meetings and after hours socialising.
Where? Peckham Rye, South London
What? This brilliant space for creative startups is based in the Peckham Levels creative hub. Bursting with food kiosks, bars, a yoga studio, kiln room and more, you’ll be amazed at what they’ve done with this old multi-storey car park. With studio space housing up to four desks, it’s perfect for businesses growing on a budget.
Where? Goodge Street, Central London
What? A workspace with real personality – we’ve suggested it would be ideal for creatives although if that’s not you, it’s still well worth a look for its generosity of space and it’s fabulous Fitzrovia location.
Is there an Airbnb for office space?
That would be us. HubbleHQ is London’s best source of shared office space and, just like Airbnb, our superpowered search makes finding the right place for you and your team super easy, whether you’re an established business or a fledgeling startup.
But unlike that well known holiday home booking site, HubbleHQ doesn’t stop at the search. We represent you, and we won’t stop until we’ve matched you with the perfect office. So if you’re considering your options and you’re not sure which way to jump, jump on a call with us.
Book a quick call with our experts now or search thousands of offices on our platform: