A business journey. Step 2 - Workspace

A business journey. Step 2 - Workspace

After 4 years working at home, it's starting to grate. At first it was great. Totally flexible around the kids and my screwed up sleep schedule, cosy and cheap. Now, the same four walls, only the Homes Under the Hammer presenters to keep me company and the constant siren call of my comfy bed are too much. I need to get out. I need to separate home and work and find some space to concentrate.

Weird panoramic photo of half of the current Love It HQ (my backroom)

So, in the past few weeks I've been looking at offices. The ideal place needs to be about 200-250sqft, fairly close to home, have a nice atmosphere with a bit of community and be flexible to accommodate a growing business. Having looked at all the suitable available options, none are 100% perfect and each has different pros & cons. I'd really appreciate your opinions in choosing the right location for Love It HQ!

1. CBX

CBX. Photo:
  • Serviced offices in a business park.  20 mins drive.
  • Pros: Nice, bright space. Great facilities.
  • Cons: Business park is soulless. Large block feels quite impersonal.


2. Cobalt 3.1

Cobalt 3.1 Photo:
Cobalt 3.1 interior. Photo:
  • Serviced offices in same business park as CBX, 20 mins drive.
  • Pros: Nice office manager who has kindly offered me some good deals. Great facilities.
  • Cons:  When I arrived, I realised I used to work in this building as a consultant on a hellish client project.The offices have since been refurbished but the whole place gave me the heebie jeebies. It's not them, it's me.


3. Hoults Yard

Hoults Yard. Look at that Clock Tower! It could be mine! Photo:
Quite nice but too small office at Hoults Yard. Photo: Julie Kemp
Good sized but too dark studio at Hoults Yard. Photo: Julie Kemp
  • Collection of 18th & 19th century industrial buildings converted in to a community of around 100 creative & digital businesses. 15 minute drive.
  • Pros: Really nice, buzzy feel to the whole place. Lots going on both for business and culturally. I really like this place.
  • Cons: Of 3 spaces they showed me, one is nice but too small, one is the right size but a bit dark and claustrophobic and one, in the clock tower is fabulous but double the size I currently need (and therefore double my current budget.) It'd be perfect if anyone wants to share an office with me and some colourful kids' clothes?


4. Quorum

Quorum 16. Photo:
Q16BX interior. Photo:
  • New business park, 10 minutes drive.
  • Pros: Excellent facilities in the office and the park itself, peaceful, calm location and nice office manager.
  • Cons: I'm not sure I'm a calm, peaceful business park kind of chick.


5. Spaceworks

Spaceworks. Photo:
Spaceworks interior. Photo:
Spaceworks interior. Photo:
  • Sage's first HO (and they did OK), now refurbished & owned by an architect firm. 10 minute walk /2 minute drive.
  • Pros: Very friendly office, decorated in lots of bright colours. Ridiculously close to home. There's a yellow cow and a mini computer museum in the atrium.
  • Cons: Two spaces available; one too small, one bigger than I need, so over budget, but a great, quirky space that would work well although it has no lock, so stock security could be a problem. Tenants have all renewed their leases, so an ideal space is very unlikely to come up soon.


6. St Thomas' Business Centre

St Thomas' Business Centre

St Thomas St central courtyard. Photo:
St Thomas Street interior. Photo:
  • Former brewery stable block, converted in late 1980's. City centre. 10 minute drive / 15 mins on metro.
  • Pros: In a lovely, Georgian area of town. Pretty cobbled central area. City centre location means customers could stop by and browse. Great value for its location.
  • Cons: Don't really want to have to commute in to town. Conversion is showing its age.


8. Storage First

Storage First. Photo:
Storage First interior. I think.
  • Storage centre. Mix of office & storage space. 10-15 minute drive.
  • Pros: very accommodating team who have offered a range of options. Cheapest option. Nice view of 1930's tobacco factory from the office window.
  • Cons: it's a storage centre, with not much around it, so there's not a lot of atmosphere. Is it worth swapping sitting in one room by myself for sitting in a different room by myself?


There are a few more I could look at, but they're in town or further away, so not ideally located. My favourite sites by far are Hoults Yard & Spaceworks, but they don't have an ideal sized space available. What do you reckon - which one would you go for?