Digital Nomad: The Black & White Building, Shoreditch
I am on a mission to find the perfect place to work. Join me as a travel through the UK and abroad on a wonderful journey, perfecting my work-life balancing act. By Kiesha Meikle
Shoreditch is a great place to be. Yes, in some ways it has lost some of what made it special, but when it comes to finding a fun place to work, Shoreditch is at the top of my list (actually, Bali is at the top of my list, but Shoreditch is pretty close).
The Black & White Building is a ‘cool’ work space – all industrial exposed original brickwork and timber beams with vault-like high ceilings. As you can imagine it fits in perfectly with the surrounding area and even the clients who use the space, look as if they were put there for a photoshoot.
After a good ten minute walk from Shoreditch High Street station, I managed to find Rivington Street. The Black & White building is hard to miss – in fact, it strikes a pretty impressive pose on a somewhat rough looking street. On arrival, I was met by Jo who gave me a tour of the facilities. Jo talked animatedly about the development plans for the building, which include some Boxpark style shipping containers out back – this will increase the space available for clients and create a fantastic ‘outside -in’ workspace in the summer months. There is space for large and small meetings, temporary offices, flexible working and everything else in between. The Black & White building has three floors but my favourite part has to be the popular ClubRoom workspaces. Individual pod-like cubicles give you privacy without cutting you off from the moderately buzzy environment.
(Photography by Matt Clayton: http://www.mattclaytonphotography.co.uk/office-group-black-white-building/)
Being a digital nomad I need EXCELLENT wifi. This is a must and the Black & White Building is well equipped with absolutely faultless wifi! Once I had logged on, I had no issues whatsoever, which was a welcome relief from my usual haphazard home broadband. Thankfully, tea and coffee is available throughout the day at no extra charge, but be warned, making a hot drink could be harder than you think (more on that below). There is lots of natural light and the high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows make each space appear fresh and airy. There is also a choice of outdoor space, I was particularly impressed with the water feature in the garden, which is surrounded by ground floor meeting rooms.
Beware, there is no lift in the building. So, if you want to get up to the rooftop terrace (which is fabulous) but you can’t manage the three flights of stairs, then tough luck. Unfortunately, there are no plans to have a lift as the one that was previously installed ‘took up space’ – not good. The facilities at the Black & White building are so cool, that I even struggled trying to make myself a cup of coffee! The boiling water is dispensed through a tap on the sink and works with a sensor. Jo was happy to talk me through the process but I felt like an utter plonker and decided to have just the one cup (which Jo made for me).
Got an important meeting? Fancy a bit of flexible working? Are you a London based digital nomad with some money to spare on a cool work location? Yes? Well, the Black & Building is probably a good place to start. There are so many spaces to choose from you will be guaranteed to find something that suits (they may even provide yoga classes in the future). The problem with this building is really just the lack of facilities for wheelchair users. Every part of the building needs to be accessed by stairs and there are no obvious facilities available to make this easy for those who need it.
For those wanting to drop in, there’s a monthly Membership fee of £10, then it’s either £10 per hour or £45 per day. The Black & White Building (part of the Office Group) offer a whole host of other services. For more information on what is on offer and membership packages go to: http://www.theofficegroup.co.uk/services/clubrooms/membership/