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Why We’re All Rejecting The Traditional Office Space

August 2016Words by Mr Jamie Millar

Trendy interiors at Work.Life. Photograph by Ms Lidia Crisafulli, courtesy of Work.Life

The passers-by outside Work.Life in east London look confused. It’s too cool to be an office: all brushed concrete and exposed brickwork. Besides, everybody inside appears… happy. Maybe it’s yet another hipster café – but with desks?

This is a coworking space, a spillover of our fluid “gig” economy where music, cars and even jobs are all on an ad hoc, project-by-project basis. “There’s been a huge rise in the number of freelancers and small businesses,” says Work.Life co-founder Mr David Kosky, who is backed up by UK government figures showing there are more than 4.2 million homeworkers in Britain alone. But traditional offices are mired by long leases, big deposits and cost of furnishing, “They lack flexibility, which is why coworking spaces are attractive.”

Hitherto, freelancers had to choose between the kitchen table or a café. At Work.Life, you get free artisan coffee that you’re not obliged to drink, reliable ninja-fast WiFi and a printer. There are soundproofed phone booths so as not to distract others with awkward conversations about your rate, and a kitchen area to keep the hot-desks free of crumbs and audible mastication. If the rolling monthly contract is too much like being tied down, “agile” workers can just pay hourly for a one-off deadline crunch or meeting room booking. “It’s like Uber for offices,” says Mr Kosky. Plus you can leave your laptop when you need the loo.