Co-working in Cambridge


By LENKA KOPPOVA

When I started freelancing 6 months ago, I was always a big fan of working from home. No commuting, no traffic, no issues with parking, no need to think about my outfit or put on my makeup. I could have my meetings in coffee shops and get my weekly dose of human interaction at different networking events. It seemed like there weren’t any real benefits of getting an office.

I think of myself as a highly motivated and proactive person. I love what I’m doing, and working 8, 12 or even 16 hours a day isn’t problem for me. But recently I started asking myself, ‘is this the right way?’

As I became busier it was a struggle to achieve a good work-life balance. Working from home meant that I didn’t know when my work ends and when my life starts. I started sleeping badly, couldn’t get my work duties out of my head and often spent late hours working from my bed. Not good for my health!

Then I discovered co-working.

At first, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the investment.  My business is still really young and I need to watch my expenses very carefully. But trying different options of co-working around Cambridge opened my eyes.

Main points to consider:

  • Time flexibility – are you looking for a space that’s open only 9 to 5 or would you prefer more flexibility?
  • Internet speed – does your work include internet heavy tasks? You should check out provided internet speed and stability.
  • Parking / accessibility – if you’re driving from outside Cambridge, you definitely have to think about time spent commuting, traffic jams and parking options.
  • Equipment (printer, external screens, keyboards) to rent and service (office support, cleaning).
  • Events and community – if the reason why you want to start co-working is community, then check out how often and what events each place offers.
  • Private office option – working in a small team and looking for something more advanced? Many co-working places offer serviced office options.

Let’s have a look at co-working options available in Cambridge

At the moment there are 4 co-working spaces in Cambridge I’d like to introduce.

The basics are quite similar everywhere: you have drop-in or full-time membership packages, meeting and conference rooms available to use, chill out area and of course a coffee machine! But there are also plenty of small things that differentiate each facility and might seal or break the deal for you.

eagle-labs

Eagle Labs Incubator by Barclays

‘Eagle Lab Incubators give entrepreneurs and start-ups access to state of the art workspaces.’

Pros:

  • Super fast internet
  • Time flexibility – 24/7 access
  • Amazing service from the operations team
  • Membership includes exclusive mentoring from Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Auditorium space available for public event hire with space for up to 50 people
  • Lots of networking events, seminars and workshops often with free food & drinks.
  • Great coffee machine

Cons:

  • A bit pricey compared to others
  • Limited on-site parking

More info: https://labs.uk.barclays/

cbl-coworking-space

Cambridge Business Lounge

‘A flexible working space and alternative to working from home. Ideal for freelancers, business owners, and employed professionals. Come and try us for free.’

Pros:

  • Central location. Great links for Park and Ride, Guided Bus, and ample parking for cyclists.
  • High-speed internet
  • Regular networking events
  • Virtual office option
  • Meeting room availability

Cons:

  • Situated in a high traffic location / no parking
  • Limited access – 8:30 to 5:30 (until 7pm on Wednesdays)

More info: http://www.cambridgebusinesslounge.com/

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CambridgeSpace

‘Connecting, inspiring and enabling creative and social entrepreneurs.’

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Free street parking around
  • Cosy, relaxed and creative environment with ‘CAN DO’ atmosphere
  • Lots of events focused on personal and professional development and creativity

Cons:

  • Limited access – 9 to 5 only
  • In the process of setting up
  • Self-service (doesn’t have to be a con, but compared to others you’ll get a little less support service here)

More info: www.facebook.com/cambridgespace

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ideaSpace

‘ideaSpace provides office space and resources for anyone looking to start a new, high impact company in Cambridge.’

Pros:

  • 3 different locations (Central, West & South at Addenbrooke’s Cambridge, with beautiful views and outdoor eating options)
  • Time flexibility – 24/7 access
  • Super fast internet, linked to the Uni wifi (you can connect anywhere around Cambridge)
  • Equipment available – printer, screens, mouse, keyboards
  • Good kitchen area stocked up with biscuits and other treats

Cons:

  • Can be really busy/crowded during day times
  • No parking on site, limited parking options around
  • No private office option, only hot desk

More info: http://www.ideaspace.cam.ac.uk/

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CamJelly

In addition, there are a few occasional co-working groups. You can join for free and enjoy evening networking on the day.

‘A casual co-working event, where freelancers, home workers and people running small businesses meet up in order to get out of their normal space, meet some new people and work in a social environment.’

More info: https://www.meetup.com/camjelly/

Have you ever tried co-working? Are you looking for just coffee and wifi in a place that isn’t a coffee shop, or do you need something more? Let me know in the comments section or tweet me at @lenkakopp.

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