Best desk in London for the price of a latte

Friday, 11 February 2011, 19:32 | Category : General
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If you’re a regular reader of the PRN blog you may have noticed a tendency to talk about the benefits of virtual/mobile/flexible (whatever you want to call it) working. Whilst I wouldn’t have a bad thing said about it, Friday afternoon is not a time to talk about overheads, office culture and working hours. No, instead, it’s time to share some of the best places we’ve worked in 2011 so far, and to ask for any suggestions with regards to where we should go next.

What started as a quick stop in the nearest Wi-Fi enabled cafe to get some work done ahead of the next meeting has become a bit of an ad-hoc PRN challenge to find the top locations to work remotely in London for little more than the price of a coffee. Working out of your “home office” or shared working hub or club is all very well – the Adam St Club is currently our place of choice – but with London as your oyster, why not (to coin a rather over-used PR phrase) ‘think outside the box’. As an experiment, we took to the streets to show how easy virtual working can be, and found ourselves in some of London’s prime real estate along the way.

So, based purely on personal opinion and no formal scoring structure, here are our top places to go so far.

1. The Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden
It couldn’t get much grander than this. More space, class, culture and glass than you can shake a stick at. Add available plug sockets and the chance to sit on a balcony overlooking Covent Garden when the weather turns good, and it is a struggle to see this getting knocked off the top slot.

2. National Geographic Cafe, Regent Street
Amazing location on one of the most stunning streets in London. Relaxed atmosphere, nature-based paraphernalia all around, and great coffee. Only let down by the limited plug sockets, a regular PRN stop so far.

3. Waterstones Cafe (5th View), Piccadilly
We’re giving this one the benefit of the doubt, as our visit was marred by dodgy Wi-Fi in the area. But great potential, loads of space, members club feel, 5th floor views over Soho and a world of literature only moments away in the UK’s largest book shop.

4. Sacred Cafe (or alternative), Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush
It is a giant shopping centre – and the great coffee has undoubtedly bumped this up the rankings – but all in all a pleasant place to stop for a couple of hours and plough through some emails in West London. Timing is probably key with this one, but good Wi-Fi, and the opportunity to buy anything your heart desires on the way home is a bonus.

5. British Library, King’s CrossTBC – we haven’t actually worked there yet – but another place with great potential. Made for purpose leather working stations (with built in lamp, and plug socket) and a seat next to the King’s Library may only be hampered by vexed looks every time you take a phone call. We’ll come back to this one.

6. Starbuck’s, Piccadilly, Embankment, Covent Garden, Balham etc.
Despite being a little predictable, and almost certainly moving down the list as we find more hidden gems, at least you know where you are with Starbucks. It will be rammed at certain times, it may not have a huge amount of natural light, but plug sockets and free Wi-Fi everywhere make it stand out from the countless other chains.

Please suggest any locations that you think are worth us putting to the test (parks with Wi-Fi access anyone?), and we’ll continue to share our experiences throughout the year.

Who knows, maybe a regular blog of this sort could liberate everyone from the familiarity of their day-to-day office space. I can feel a revolutionary movement coming on… Or possibly a caffeine overdose.

Enjoy your weekends,

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