Many of us our finding ourselves having to work from home these days, or WFH if you like your abbreviations. Many are also working as freelancers, doing contract work, or are self-employed, meaning they are never tied to an office anyway.
There are many proven benefits to working from home, such as increased productivity, less sick days, higher levels of employee satisfaction and staff reporting a better work-life balance. But there are draw-backs too, such as lack of interaction with employees and peers, leading to feelings of isolation. People can also experience ‘cabin fever’ as a result of not leaving their house for long periods of time.
The solution? Remote working outside your flat. You might be familiar with the classic coworking spaces such as Soho House, We Work and Uncommon, which are popular among start-ups and individual business. But the problem with these is the cost – yep, they’re not free, and why would you pay £450 a month to hire a desk when you could just use the office or your house just fine?
However, there are plenty of other amazing spots in London that you can head to when you need a break from working in your flat, and most of them won’t even cost you a penny to use. There are countless restaurants, cafés and bars that have free wifi, free-flowing coffee and comfy seating. Being restaurants and cafes, you are naturally expected to buy something while you’re there, but if you purchase the odd coffee here and there, not to mention your lunch, these establishments will be happy to have you. You might even decide after a long day’s work, to treat yourself to dinner out too.
With so many different co-working spots to choose from in London, we’ve put together a guide below to our favourite places to work from home in each area, so you don’t even have to travel too far out of your local area.
Need a specific area? You can jump to the different London zones below:
Where to work remotely in east London
Hoxton Grill, Shoreditch
What: The scarlet red leather booths at Hoxton Grill are highly sought after by freelance folk who are looking to chow down while working on their latest project. The restaurant’s hearty menu of diner classics - think mac ‘n’ cheese and strip steak - is sure to keep you well fueled for a productive day of working.
Where: 81 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HU
The Laundry Building, Hackney
What: As you may have guessed from the name, this Hackney spot set up by Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien, used to be an industrial laundry, but is now a spacious creative hub where you're welcome to come and work remotely. The Laundry's bar and restaurant area allows you to order food and drink as you work as well, meaning that you don't need to worry about getting peckish either.
Where: 2-18 Warburton Road, E8 3FN
Serata Hall, Shoreditch
What: Serata Hall is the latest addition from Albion & East, the group responsible for popular Brixton joints Canova Hall and Cattivo, as well as Hackney destination Martello Hall. This new opening, located on Old Street round-about is a multi-use space that is a remote worker’s dream – unlimited coffee and complimentary wifi draws the coworking crowd. The bakery and all-day restaurant serves up signature pizzas and home-made pasta, meaning you can have a cracking lunch (or if you’re burning the midnight oil, dinner) here, too.
Where: 207 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
London Grind, Shoreditch
What: The Shoreditch Grind, a post-industrial refectory on Old Street’s silicon roundabout, opens for continental-style breakfasts, and offers an all-day roster of cakes, soups and sandwiches. The ‘grind’ of the title refers to freshly roasted and brewed coffee in all its forms, from skinny lattes during the day to espressos in the evening, meaning you can work from dawn 'till dusk (great). The hip coffee shop doubles as a bar at night, so ideal for (ahem) post-work drinks, too. The mini-chain also has locations in London Bridge, Holborn and Soho and they too welcome keen WFH-ers.
Where: 213 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
Look Mum, No Hands, Hackney
What: Referring to the proud outburst children make when finally being able to cycle without stabilisers, it’s no wonder Look Mum, No Hands is bike-themed. Bikes double as artwork here, hanging on walls and from ceilings, the way any east-end millennial would want it. The long counter with dedicated plug sockets makes this a popular destination with remote workers – as does the selection of delicious sandwiches, cakes, pastries and smoothies.
Where: 49 Old Street, EC1V 9HX
The Modern Grill at Forge & Co, Shoreditch
What: Located on the ground floor of a shared events space, art gallery and hot-desking hub, The Modern Grill at Forge & Co’s self-styled ‘canteen’ is less reminiscent of school dinners and more akin to a hip Scandi hangout. With friendly staff and a dedicated lounge for drinks, Forge & Co has pitched itself as a top Shoreditch spot for work or play. We suggest you dabble in both.
Where: 154-158 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU
The Book Club, Shoreditch
What: This exuberant boogie bar draws in the crowds with dippy events such as ‘Crap Film Club’, King Pong ping-pong, twerking school and ‘death drawing classes’, as well as disco dancing in its basement club. But The Book Club is also open from 8am for bleary-eyed breakfasting, with spacious tables and friendly staff creating a work-conducive ambiance – the clue’s in the name.
Where: 100-106 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH
Where to work remotely in west London
Granger & Co, Chelsea
What: Granger & Co's Chelsea outpost is great option for remote working in West London when you're looking for somewhere a little more high-end than your average café. You will be expected to order from the menu throughout the day if you want to stay, but in return you'll be able to get cosy on one of the leather banquettes and enjoy treats from the the great food and drinks menu.
Where: 237-239 Pavilion Road, SW1X 0BP
The Allis White City
What: Part of the Soho House group, this all-day bar and restaurant naturally has dedicated event spaces and smaller members-only office spaces for hire. But The Allis White City is also open to the public as is its casual dining area, filled with comfy mid-century furniture, atmospheric lighting and cool art. Fresh and seasonal ingredients help make up a British menu where the likes of California-inspired smashed avocado on toast might be expected.
Where: 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR
Where to work remotely in south London
Canova Hall, Brixton
What: Brixton’s ever-cool Canova Hall serves up Italian classics from its all-day menu, which should keep you energised and motivated throughout the working day. The buzzy vibes and post-industrial interiors that are matched with the building’s old profile as Brixton’s Bon Marché department store go down well with the trendy workers – as do the delicious cocktails served in the evening. You can sign up to a weekly or monthly pass to get unlimited free coffee and wifi.
Where: 250 Ferndale Road, SW9 8BQ
Rude Health Café, Putney
What: The large communal benches and free wifi literally screams out for remote workers to flock to this Putney caff, which serves up great coffee and nutritious brain food. Bring your laptop down and grab a healthy breakfast before kicking off your day – hearty soups and fresh sandwiches work decently for lunch, too.
Where: 212 New King's Rd, Fulham, London SW6 4NZ
Where to work remotely in north London
Fine and Grosso coffee station, Finsbury Park
What: Describing itself as 'laptop-friendly' rather than specifically a co-working space, Finsbury Park's Fine and Grosso is a fantastic place to come and work when you're getting bored of your home office, provided that you do buy food and drink throughout the day. If you don't want to worry about how often you need to buy coffees, Fine and Grosso also offers a day pass for £15 which can then be spent on food and drink, which we think is particularly good idea.
Where: 187 Seven Sisters Road, N4 3NG
Vagabond N7, Holloway Road
What: Sat on Holloway Road, Vagabond N7 is brilliantly suited to remote working thanks to its large wooden tables and early opening hours (from 7:30 am). There are plenty of charging points dotted around this little café too, and if you ever need to escape for a bit of fresh air, it also benefits from an adorable little garden out back.
Where: 105 Holloway Road, N7 8LT
St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, King’s Cross
What: You might be surprised that a bar with a name involving ‘Champagne’ would be ideal as a remote working spot, but trust us, it is. St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, located inside St Pancras International Station, turns a third of its dining spaces into workspace tables during the day, complete with sockets and complimentary wifi. This is also ideal for commuters, or if you’re jumping on the Eurostar on business (or holiday), a quick stop here can turn your half-day into an efficient working day.
Where: Kings Cross, N1C 4QL
Wellcome Collection, Euston
What: The cosy Reading Room at the Wellcome Collection museum doubles as a library, gallery and event space. During the day, the quiet room is ideal for working in, with several tables to choose from, not to mention a very comfy sofa. There are also cushions on the stairs for you to curl up with a book or a note pad on.
Where: 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE
Brewdog, Camden and Clerkenwell
What: You may have to pay a small fee for this one but we think it's well worth it, given the amount that's included in the price. BrewDog has introduced a remote working initiative called ‘Desk Dog’ across a handful of its bars in the UK, including Camden and Clerkenwell in North London, as well as sites in Dalston, Paddington, Seven Dials, Shepherd’s Bush, Soho, Shoreditch and Canary Wharf. For £7 a day, you will get unlimited coffee, access to printers, pens and paper – as well as a pint of IPA when the working day is done. Cheers to that.
Where: 113 Bayham Street, Camden Town, NW1 0AG; 45-47 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RS
Where to work remotely in the City
The Wren, Mansion House
What: If you're someone who gets inspired by their surroundings, then The Wren might be just the place for you when it comes to remote working. You won't find many London coffee shops more impressive than this one based in the stunning St Nicholas Cole abbey, in the heart of The City. The widely spaced tables here are perfect for both meetings, or for spreading out all your stuff while you work away.
Where: St Nicholas Cole Abbey, 114 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4BJ
What: A short hop over Tower Bridge, Shaman is a ground floor coffee shop-cum-workspace found in the relatively new Bermonds locke development. The spacious room is flooded with natural light and full of both communal desks, and beanbags, which are the perfect place to get comfy for a day's work. With coffee available throughout the day, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner options, you could easily spend the whole day at Shaman without needing to leave.
Where: 157 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 3LW
Where to work remotely in central London
Riding House Cafe, Fitzrovia
What: Open all day, Riding House Cafe is a buzzy, energetic space that is often packed out with the Fitzrovia media set. There’s a lengthy counter table that is a great spot for setting up your laptop and enjoying coffees and snacks, while if you want a bit more comfort, head to the cosy booths towards the back and treat yourself to a three-course lunch as you work.
Where: 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ
Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
What: You have to hand it to the Soho House Group for creating this dynamo of a place – the neighbourhood’s media goings-on would practically grind to a halt without it. Start your day with a full English and a cup of strong coffee in the buzzy ground-floor brasserie, then the area’s rakes, wordsmiths and fashionistas are back in again at lunch, making Dean Street Townhouse a great place to people watch when you want to procrastinate (not that we ever do that).
Where: 69-71 Dean Street, W1D 3SE
The Workroom, various D&D restaurants across London
What: Restaurant giant D&D London has a fantastic workspace initiative to fill empty restaurants seats with remote workers in some of its biggest restaurants during the day. The Workroom is available across 100 Wardour Street, Bluebird Chelsea and White City, Fiume, Aster, Avenue, and Radici and does, admittedly, cost money, but we think it’s a fairly reasonable price. A mere £10 gives you a day pass, whereas three passes are £25; five can be purchased for £50 or 10 for £75. In return, you will get limitless wifi, an abundance of plug sockets and complimentary coffee, tea and water. And that’s not even considering the sleek surrounds of D&D’s restaurants and their corresponding menus filled with gorgeous food for you to tuck into come lunch-time.
Where: Various locations
Want to hang out with your mates after a day of working on your own? Check out our pick of the best London restaurants for groups.