Words by Clare Dowdy
Why was Club Workspace rather under my radar? Was it the forgettable name? Or the fact that the big personalities from The Office Group and WeWork steal all the PR limelight? Or were its roots in conventional office lettings something to do with it?
Lack of notoriety aside, it’s a big operator in London. There are 19 Club Workspaces, all housed in bigger Workspace entities, the 30-year-old FTSE250 company that owns and operates 335,000sq m of flexible office space in 67 properties across the capital.
At 34,000sq m, Kennington Park Business Centre, near Oval station, is the biggest site, and doubles as Workspace’s HQ, which bizarrely has a Mini trapped in a wall of fluted glass in one room.
The co-working-style Club Workspace which opened here in 2013 has space for 99 hotdeskers, 24 open-plan fixed desks, and five private offices. While the six-to-eight-person office rooms are let on six-monthly contracts at £2,500, the fixed desks and hotdeskers (at £350 and £300 respectively) are monthly arrangements. All exclude VAT. So Club Workspace cunningly serves two purposes.
Firstly, its interiors are intended to add vibrancy to the business centre offer upstairs. At Kennington Park, Generate Studio has exposed the brickwork and ceilings, and installed wooden “tiled” desk tops, pale blue Anglepoise lamps.
And secondly, the Club concept gives the Workspace mothership “a touch point with customers at a much earlier stage, so they grow with us”, says John Robson, Workspace’s head of asset management. Since 2014, 51 Club businesses have moved into office space that’s rented out on a standard lease length of two years, though on average people stay for eight years. That sounds like it makes sense.