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Workspace

experience compared with someone renting a desk space in a leased building. There, a person might sign-in at reception with a different person each day and get in a lift with people they’ve never seen before and won’t see again. That feeling of isolation is something you won’t find in the buildings we run, where there’s consistency and a vibrant community”. Elsewhere, the appropriately named Sustainable Workspaces calls itself Europe’s largest sustainable startup community, which is adopting commercial solutions to tackle climate change and dwindling resources. After renovating disused arches into co-working spaces in Shand Street beneath London Bridge station in 2015, the organisation opened its second project in nearby Sumner Street earlier in 2018. Shand Street offers a combination of office space and workshops, housing more than 20 startups creating products and services promoting environmental solutions, as well as light industrial workshop space for R&D. Sumner Street’s prime location has become home to 30 companies employing over 250 people, and hosts events by leading sustainability organisations. Most of Sustainable Workspaces’ members will be startups made of small teams of twoto-five people who have secured primary funding. They also offer space to more mature companies, with teams of 20 to 50 employees and corporate partners that would rather work in a space with a creative atmosphere. All of the clientele are operating businesses with an environmentally focused conscience; from Winnow, which is fighting food waste, to Powervault creating a de-centralised electricity grid. And from Toast Ale – which uses surplus bread to brew beer – to Envirobuild and Biohm, aiming to bring the circular economy to the construction industry. There is also Advizzo, which uses behavioural science to change the way people interact with their energy suppliers to reduce costs and improve efficiency – and Cheeky Panda, which has introduced bamboo toilet paper to disrupt the tree-munching toilet paper market. James Byrne, director at Sustainable Workspaces, says: “We chose Southwark as it offered our members easier access to business contacts and investors. Being central makes it easier to hold meetings across sectors, and we also found it helps our members attract talent when recruiting. “Work is changing in a way that is much more fluid and agile. Particularly startups in their seeding stage need to be very flexible and respond quickly to a change in their cash flow, product demands and different development challenges. By offering them as much flexibility as possible – and on the other southwarkmagazine.com

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hand creating a system of support that will help them grow – we are working with our members to make Sustainable Workspaces much more than just an office. “[We are also] building Europe’s largest cluster of sustainable companies. We are creating a community that easily creates cross links and abundant opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere.” So aside from great physical space, what are the key things for making an effective working environment? More often than not, ‘reliable internet’ is cited as vital. Though, perhaps less obviously, ‘showers’ emerges as

a popular requirement too. Purpose Group’s Dan Cohen says: “We get people asking for showers, which we offer at some of our sites, but obviously fast internet is the most important thing. Tenants are more likely to complain about the internet not working than not having running water, but of course, we work hard to maintain both.” With so much investment already made, more planned and further opportunities to take advantage of, the future looks set to maintain Southwark as a thriving business destination and hub for creative working for decades to come. issue

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23/11/2018 15:36

Profile for 3Fox International Ltd

Southwark magazine #20  

Over 20 issues, Southwark magazine has covered the transformation of the London borough, showcasing the influential buildings, strong commun...

Southwark magazine #20  

Over 20 issues, Southwark magazine has covered the transformation of the London borough, showcasing the influential buildings, strong commun...