Did you know that average working hours per person in the USA is around 1,700 per year? This is higher than Europe, but still considerably less than most Asian countries.
For many of us, working odd hours and in odd locations is the norm. Catching up on work emails at the airport, at a cafe, or on the train is becoming more common. We might even regularly travel for work and unfortunately, many of us need to stay connected even when on vacation.
When it comes to mixing work and travel, you’ll know that just two things matter: a quality internet connection and a power socket! If you’ve battled it out at Starbucks for that last seat, you’re no doubt a bit of a road warrior already.
If your journeys are taking you to London, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places from which you can sit down, relax, open your laptop and get a good quality internet connection.
Best for networking: Google Campus — Fast Wi-Fi and a great cafe
Location: 4-5 Bonhill St, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4BX
Nearest tube station: Old Street
If you’re spending a longer time in London, then you might want to head over and work at the Google Campus. It’s a cool space (of course it is, it’s Google!), and it’s located just a short walk from either Liverpool Street station or Old Street tube. At the Google Campus, you’ll get access to a large shared office space with free high speed wi-fi and a cool cafe servicing delicious coffee, tea and healthy snacks.
One of the best parts about working at the Google Campus is you can network with others from all walks of life — you’ll find many others just like you. Better still, you can attend a myriad of free events, mentoring sessions and workshops or slip on your headphones and work away.
It’s free to use the Google Campus: you just need to register online and then you’re good to go.
Best for chilling out: Ziferblat — calm, tranquil and a little quirky
Location: 388 Old Street, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9LT
Nearest tube station: Old Street
Everything inside Ziferblat is free, except for the time you spend. It’s a bit like a big shared house, crossed with a cafe. It describes itself as “…an extension of your own home; a place to relax, meet new friends, discover new experiences.”
At Ziferblat you’ll find a calm and zen-like sitting room, shared office space and even private meeting rooms. There’s free wi-fi and coffee, and there’s even a piano for you to try, boardgames to play and performance events.
You pay based on how long you want to stay (and then the coffee is free!). It’s 5 pence per minute (this equates to £3/hour — which is around $3.85/hour) — great value to ensure a comfortable place for you to work.
Best for coffee: Department of Coffee and Social Affairs –cool, industrial and social
Location: 14-16 Leather Lane, EC1N 7SU + six other branches across London
Nearest tube station: Chancery Lane
The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs on Leather Lane was once an ironmonger, and has been renovated into a really cool space. It describes itself as a “coffee-focused social hub”, and it serves handpicked coffee and delicious fresh food. There’s a meeting room if you need privacy, fast wi-fi and you won’t feel like you’re imposing if you’re finalising that urgent report on your laptop before shooting it down the intertubes to your boss back in the USA.
It can get busy at times, so avoid arriving in peak periods (eg lunchtime or early morning when you’ll be competing with the non-working crowds getting their coffee or food).
Best for serious working: Regus Business Lounges
Location: Many locations in London
Nearest tube station: Usually close to tube stations
Regus is a global serviced office company, usually used by the top end of town for temporary office space. However, Regus also have a network of business lounges in many of their serviced office locations in central London (and around the world).
A Regus business lounge is reminiscent of an airport lounge. Lots of seating, power sockets, tablets and free coffee and tea. There’s even a Regus business lounge located at London Gatwick Airport).
Designed for drop-in use as you travel, the Regus lounges are equipped with individual workspaces and pods, high-speed internet, snacks and comfortable furniture. These lounges are good if you need to spend a few good hours (or an entire day) working without interruption.
You can pay-per-use or enjoy unlimited access with a Regus Business Lounge Membership (which costs in the vicinity of $80/month for unlimited usage).
And… There’s always Starbucks!
Location: Everywhere in London, but we think the best one is at 6A Vigo Street, W1F 3SH
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus
If you just need a Starbucks hit, don’t worry, there’s lots in London. If that iced caramel latte frappe is calling your name, you’ll find that Starbucks in London are identical to back home. Use the store locator to find your closest Starbucks. But we particularly like the Vigo Street location for its wood panelled rooms and stately Georgian windows. There’s plenty of power sockets, and it feels a bit like a library.
Often the Wi-Fi at Starbucks can be slow (with so many people connected) so you might want to get a local UK SIM Card for your mobile phone sent to your home before you leave to the UK, and then hotspot your phone to share the data with your laptop.
Or…. Find a beautiful park and make it your office for the day
Location: There’s so many to choose from!
Nearest tube station: Always close to tube stations
Within the hustle and bustle of London are some beautiful parks. Why not ditch the office or cafe and instead find a nice park bench and work in the great outdoors? You won’t find free wi-fi in the parks, so you’ll need to get a local UK SIM Card for your mobile phone sent to your home before you leave to the UK, and then turn your phone into a mobile hotspot to share the data with your laptop. The UK SIM Card from My UK SIM Card gives you a massive 12GB of high speed 4G LTE data.
There’s so many parks and gardens in London. As a first step, check out the Visit London website provides a comprehensive list of the best publicly accessible parks and gardens in London.
Our recommendation is the beautiful Lincoln’s Inn Fields which are in central London, close to Holborn tube station. Not only can your office be a beautiful park for the day, you can take in some amazing history too! In 1683, the Lincoln’s Inn Fields was the site of the public beheading of Lord William Russell, for his part in the Rye House Plot to assassinate King Charles II. Pretty cool right?