Finding the best places to rent office space in London can be one of the biggest challenges of a young startup. You don’t need to start ripping your hair out yet though; there are loads of ridiculously cool office spaces in London for startups right now. It’s a better time than ever for startups looking for a new home in the city.
Whether you’re looking for a small office space for rent or an awesome shared office space, trying to find a space that doesn’t look like a dusty broom cupboard but that comes in within your budget isn’t impossible.
Renting office space is going to be one of your biggest outgoings apart from staff, but budget isn’t the only thing that matters. We’ll go through what you should look for in an office, to a guide of London office space for startups, to help you on your way.
Firstly, when looking for your new office space, things you should consider are:
No one wants a long schlep to work. Studies prove the daily commute can be stressful, so making it as easy as possible for your team to get to the office should make everyone in the office happier and more positive. It’s also way for convenient for popping out to lunchtime meetings or attending after-work events (or the pub).
If you’re in fintech you’re likely to be looking for office space in the City square mile. East London has a reputation for catering to creative and tech startups, North London for design etc. How important is it that you fit into your business’s area stereotype?
Ideally you’re going to be looking for somewhere with a vibe that fits your startup; somewhere that you’ll enjoy working in and a space that suits your company and one you can imagine growing into. There’s a world of ping pong tables and chill out areas in this here city so go forth, find your perfect office match and kiss it. Mwah!
In the early days there’s likely just to be a small handful of people in your team, max. This can change pretty quickly. Have an idea of how fast you’re going to grow and how many people you need to take on within the year. Keep this in mind when you’re looking for office space. Will there be room for everyone to have a desk in a few months or will you be sat on each others knees?
Keeping these four things in mind, let’s check out the main five areas of London and what some of their offices have in common.
Who? Creative, Tech, Fashion, Media
Where? Clerkenwell, Old Street, Boxpark, Aldgate, The City, Haggerston, Bethnal Green, Shadwell.
Favourite East London hangouts: Meat Mission – the Breakfast Club – Look Mum no Hands – Pizza East – Barbour and Parlour – Duck and Waffle – Shoreditch House – The Hawksmoor.
To check out of office: Spitalfields Market, Redchurch Street, Boxpark.
Obviously (being a tech startup) we’re starting in East. Our offices are pretty much opposite Boxpark and you can’t get more typecast hipster vibe than that. East London is a favourite with tech startups but also a huge hub for creative, fashion and media businesses. The border into The City’s Fintech sector is just around the corner so keep that in mind if you ramble too far south in your search.
There’s a hefty choice of fashionable cafes, pubs, restaurants, bars and pop-ups in the area so it’s ideal if you need somewhere for casual meetings. This is one of the best things about the area and kind of negates the need for constantly available private rooms within your office.
Some of the best office space can be found away from the busiest areas, especially if you value space more than rubbing elbows with a fellow co-worker and the potential to grow your company without having to find more office space.
Types of office space in East London:
Probably one of the coolest spaces we’ve seen recently. This high-spec office is pretty special as it’s in the old converted Tobacco Dock and it’s got an amazing history! Only around 10 minutes stroll from Tower Hill, Tower Bridge and Shadwell, it’s surprisingly quick to get to from wherever you are in London.
The desks are massive (not always common in shared workspace) with their own plug-points and super fast broadband, the chill out area and kitchen are slick and the Grade 1 listed venue is spectacular. Plus, they hold cool events. Lunch break for Oktoberfest anyone?
Embracing the East Londoner’s aesthetic, Workhouse’s cool, laid-back spaces have loads of natural light and air. All locations are equipped with huge meetings rooms, creative break out areas and (the cherry on top) fully-stocked kitchens.
Who? Media, Design, PR, Creative
Where? Camden, Islington, Kings Cross, Somers Town, Angel
Favourite North London hangouts: The Harringay Arms (home to 150 craft beers!), Hansom Lounge at St. Pancras Hotel, Ottolenghi, The Red Lion & Sun
To check out of office: Hampstead Heath, Camden Stables Market, Keats House
North London is probably the best looking side of the Thames and that might also be true of the locals. Imagine a smarter grown up version of Shoreditch with more bars and restaurants but still pretty hip. North London’s streets can be busy but there’s plenty of quiet, well kept tree lined side roads that exude that sophisticated North London vibe.
Types of office space in North London:
These guys have created what looks at first glance a homeware store, not a shared office space, but that’s the beauty of it. If you want to feel more like you’re working in your future living room after you’ve made it big time, North London’s hit the nail on the head. Desks from £199 pp/pm
This stylishly smart little office is typical North London chic. Just check out those sculpted sofas, exposed brick walls and French style cabinets. In between South Hampstead and Belsize Park which are probably two of the prettiest London areas, you’re in the perfect place for lunchtime walks round the Heath. Desks from £199 pp/pm
A short walk from Caledonian Road station, the XChange Hub is perfect for entrepreneurs and SMEs. It has a professional feel that will impress clients plus beautiful design accents that make the space unique and inviting. Hot desking from £208 pp/month.
Who? Fashion, Creative, Product, Media, Music
Where? Paddington, Mayfair, Victoria, Hammersmith
Favourite West London hangouts: Kensington Roof Gardens, the Frontline Club, Bluebird, Rum Kitchen, Tom’s Kitchen
To check out of office: Hyde Park, Richmond Park, Portobello Road
West London has the swankiest reputation with some of the capitals most famous landmarks and most expensive post code but it’s probably a bit further behind when it comes to the quality or amount of shared office space.
West London covers the busy business hubs of Hammersmith to the colourful one storey streets of Notting Hill so there’s a pretty varying style of accommodation for young businesses. Co-working and office space can be a little more expensive due to the higher rents but if you look in the right places you can find some super good looking mid-priced offices.
Types of office space in West London:
If it’s affordability and convenience you’re after than The Workary’s Brompton location is for you. They transform under-utilised public libraries into amazing community hubs, giving members access to meeting rooms, monthly in-house networking events, Internet and unlimited refreshments for just £95 pp/month.
These office in Paddington have cosy private working booths, chill out areas and a slick new kitchen; we don’t really need to mention the great transport connections! They also have similarly stylish offices in Southbank. Desks from around £250 pp/pm
West London has the benefit of hosting many a grand tree lined street and high ceilinged buildings. These private offices in various sizes, close to Notting Kill and Kensington High Street, welcome pets and also have shower facilities if you like jogging or cycling to work. Going for a jog before work down said streets with your dog to break you into Monday = living the dream.
Who? Tech, Creative, Production, Events
Where? Southbank, Victoria, Waterloo, London Bridge
Favourite South London hangouts: Borough Market, Udderbelly, Lightbox, Southbank Centre, Somerset House (short walk over the bridge!)
To check out of office: Southbank, Greenwich Park, Brixton food market, Eltham Palace
South London has a young, fun and energetic vibe. You’ve got the transport hubs of Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge along with the cultural centre of Southbank. It’s not as hectic as Central and it can be cheaper.
There are some great spaces popping up south of the river and it’s not just companies that can’t afford central who are moving there. It’s a bit of an undiscovered secret but don’t expect it to stay that way for long!
Types of office space in South London:
Two fully furnished kitchens, an onsite morning yoga class to start your day, seated Astro Turfed outside area, a showroom and high speed broadband… pah, how could you work anywhere else?!
Bermondsey is technically in South East London rather than East but you can see from this offering that going just a little further out pays dividends in what you get for your money. Prices start at a very reasonable £250 pp/pm.
Home of Bestival, Let’s Go (The Handbag Factory) also house tech and creative companies in their converted barn-like space. Close to Vauxhal Oval and Kennington you’re in a great position for commuting and for an extra £50 per month you get free food (buffet breakfast on Monday, and no you can’t stuff croissants in your pocket for later) alcohol and a pro coffee machine. Boom. There’s also an onsite gym if jogging along Southbank in the sun doesn’t appeal. Prices start at £375 pp/pm
Who? Media, Fashion
Where? Soho, The City, Fitzrovia, Clerkenwell
Favourite Central London hangouts: Soho House, Meat Liquor, Hawksmoor
To check out of office: Chinatown, Covent Garden, Seven Dials for shopping
Central London is crazy busy and it’s where most of the action’s happening. In fact, even more tech startups are looking for offices in Central London than in East! Being in Central London also means travel times are generally shorter (unless you’re driving) meaning it’s an ideal location if you’re required to visit clients offices regularly.
Prices are obviously a little higher but you get what you pay for, and being in London’s busiest hub isn’t a dirt cheap option.You’ll impress clients with your post code and wherever you are, you won’t be more than a few hundred metres from a Pret. You’re less likely to get showers or a plethora of space but what you lose in amenities you gain in post code status.
Types of office space in Central London:
A perfect example of office space in Central London. Stylish Soho space full of creatives, less than five minutes walk from tube stations and lots of invites to exclusive networking events and seminars. Prices start from £450 pp/pm
This former music publishing house makes for a rockin’ workspace in the heart of Soho. If you move past the sheet music and grand piano at the entrance, you’ll find huge bag windows, exposed brick walls, storage, loads of breakout space and on-site events. It’s truly a creative’s dream office.
There are loads more examples of office space in London but hopefully this will help give you a head start. There are awesome offices all over the capital so don’t get dogmatic about needing to stay in the realms of East London if you’re in Tech, or Soho if you’ve got a media agency. There’s a world of offices and startups out there, go forth and widen those desk view horizons!