Finding a place to work can be harder than you might think, as an entrepreneur. Starting out, you might not earn enough to spend money on a ritzy office, or even on a pay-per-month rent-a-desk set up.
Wondering where you’re going to get enough money to pay for groceries while you kickstart your business is the reality at the start: spending money idling around coffee shops desperately hunting for free WiFi is a sure fire way to eat away at savings and waste time. Which is why we’re eternally grateful for these world-famous landmarks who have freelancers in mind.
Of course, it’s best not to become a permanent fixture at any of these locations. It’s polite not to bring a clipboard, mini Epsom, and a stapler, and turn these landmarks into your actual physical office. A day or two every so often can provide a much-needed flash of inspiration whether you’re at the very beginning or in the middle of your start-up journey.
This iconic, brutalist building is a lifesaver for freelancers in central London. Skirting the banks of the river Thames, the beautiful, National Theatre has free wifi and one of the quietest vibes in the city, perfect if you want to knuckle down and get some work done. Best avoided in the evenings and on Wednesday afternoons when there are matinees, the National Theatre is decked out in deep purples and reds. During the winter, the ambience can border on "cave-like", with tables filled with budding playwrights earnestly typing masterpieces. It’s a focused and central space however, and one which is great for meetings (head for the bunches of chairs near windows) and for solo workers (the benches and long table combination are austerely productivity-inducing if only if you want to get done as soon as possible and seek something more comfortable).
Ever since the building [above] was renovated, the new Tate was partly marketed as a usable space for people to do more than just glance at artworks. The Tate has welcomed people into the building to work - there’s free WiFi, and, if you’re a member then there’s a big member room too. From 10am - 6pm this is usually full of people with laptops. What’s great about the Tate membership scheme is, for significantly less money than a private members club, you can get year-round access to a private work room, with an added bonus of free year-round exhibitions.
Fill out a form, and you can get access to one of the most beautiful spaces in central London [below]. The St Pancras Reading rooms are vast, light filled, and a peaceful place to work. If you don’t want to work to the hushed tones of a library, the British Library also has a little on-site cafe which is a much chattier, laid back place to crack on and get some work done. Plus, they make an excellent espresso, so it’s an ideal location for a meeting.
The London Eye
This is a slightly gimmicky suggestion, but if you need some inspiration, or have a piece of work that’s only an hour long to finish, the London Eye has free WiFi, and plenty of seating. Use it if you need to shoot a Facebook-live video, or do some kooky social media: most great cities have wifi scattered around the cities. The London Eye has The Cloud wifi, so you can log in, spin around the sky for an hour, and get an hour of work done.
"My favourite place to work in London is one neglected by tourists" - the Southbank Centre has great, fast WiFi, with a stunning view of the River Thames outside. Elizabeth Ford, a graphic design freelancer who is in the middle of starting her own business raves about the Southbank Centre. "There’s always good seating, the WiFi is fast enough to Skype clients without it cutting out, and, it’s really central, so it’s a great place to meet."