Having worked predominantly in the corporate world for my career and more importantly as part of bigger teams. I found going freelance and moving to the countryside could at times be a pretty lonely existence. I was lucky that we had converted our garage so did have a small office that meant I could “go to work”!! But I definitely missed the banter, being part of a something bigger and the social side of work etc. However, my life had changed with 2 young children, a change of career from fashion retail to marketing and events and a move out of London. I had joined a few freelance support groups on Facebook, got lots of inspiration from Instagram but it just wasn’t the same. I love working with people and having people around me. I did have excuses to go up to the big smoke initially for my work, but those excuses were getting less and less. So I started to seek closer solutions and a chance to meet like minded people, as I had met plenty of other mums who perhaps worked but very few were self employed initially. On days up in London and in between meetings I had been using some great co-working spaces, but never thought there would be something like that in the Cotswolds, especially not in my own town of Cirencester. Four years ago the options were very limited but this has really changed this year. I thought there would be options in Cheltenham but to my surprise there weren’t any that I liked the look of.
Are you missing an office environment and its social side but are loving the Cotswold lifestyle otherwise? I might just have a solution.
We now have some amazing and super stylish co- working spaces with the latest opening in the heart of Cheltenham this month. But you don’t need to be in a big town for this as there is also Unicorn House in Cirencester, which opened in September and some other more established ones such as Spacehoppers and Cluster in Stroud, I need to visit them but they are just that bit further for me. But definitely worth checking out. I love all the events that Spacehoppers put on for their hoppers, (as they like to call them) and they also have some fantastic local business owners coming in to talk about their journeys and sharing their wisdom.
But I want to focus on the newbies as they really are my kind of style and look. A fantastic option for freelancers and/or small business owners who want to be part of something bigger and enjoy working in a stylish environment.
So let me introduce ……
A converted period property over 3 floors that has been transformed to offer hot desking, meeting rooms, a hot yoga studio as well as dedicated desks. It central town location with free parking is soo convenient. The feel is really welcoming and relaxing but there is fab attention to detail in the styling and feel of the place. It’s actually really homely with fantastic break out areas including the super stylish Parlour, my favourite room. It also has a sizeable garden that is definitely an added bonus for the warmer months. They have the canteen where there is free flowing tea and coffee to be enjoyed and somewhere to actually have a lunch break, which is pretty different to working at home. What’s really different about this place is the onsite yoga studio. They have some fantastic classes but also have the showers. So even if you aren’t into yoga, you could go off and do some exercise, shower and change and crack on with your work. They have really taken the time to think of the lifestyles of their co-workers, so have some other great touches. They have tied up with some favourite local brands so you can have Soushi Sushi delivered to your desk. Or Nafia, at Upraw Food does amazing lunch boxes that can be ordered for the week on a Monday and delivered Tuesday, think aubergine curry with coconut camargue and wild rice. They are sooo delicious and super healthy! For me it definitely has that London club vibe and a place it is hard to not feel comfortable in. So I am a convert, I’ve been enjoying the space in the last month and have met some great local business owners. Some of these businesses I had no idea existed! A great addition to my town.
The newest addition – The Workplace Cheltenham
I was lucky enough to have a good look around when I went to recent launch of this real gem right in the heart of Cheltenham. Firstly the amazing bonus of this place is the café that is just below. If you haven’t been to The Find in Cheltenham, you are missing out. The food was delicious, coffee fantastic and the whole look and feel of the place is uber stylish. It has truly beautiful interiors and is such a cool environment with the most amazing attention to detail. They really have thought of everything. This also flows through to the really cool workspace. It’s very compact but they have fitted in everything!! From the obvious desks and chairs to meeting rooms and private phone booths, such a clever design! When I say desks and chairs, there has been no expense spared and this isn’t any old furniture. They have the most comfy Herman Miller chairs, Anglepoise lights and fully adjustable desks. It’s definitely a 10 out of 10 for look and feel for me. There are limited spaces and I know 3 desks are taken full time, so if this takes your fancy, you better check it out quickly. Lets hope that it is a success and this may see more of their spaces pop up in Cheltenham??!!
So the longer I live here, there are definitely some unexpected city perks popping up across the Cotswolds but luckily I have left the commute, smog and long hours behind. I would also say that due to the size of the spaces around here, there is even more likely to be a sense of community and chance to build a long lasting network, which is a real perk.
Co-working in the Cotswolds is on the up and makes life as a freelancer a whole lot more sociable and fun! Let me know about your co-working experience in the country and how you have found it. Or perhaps you have any other recommendations here in the Cotswolds that I’m yet to discover.