With office space at a premium, a growing number of designers, writers and creative freelancers are looking for better alternatives to dubiously wedging their laptops onto already overcrowded, cappuccino stained tables in noisy, push-chair filled coffee shops.
It seems that hot-desking has provided the unlikely solution…but not the hot-desking we once knew. At one time, these flexible, rent-by-the-hour desks were the casual, use-‘em-and-leave-em luxuries only afforded by travelling businessmen who required an impersonal, claustrophobic box with suitably snooty concierge. That is until a few creative agencies stepped up to offer something altogether more fun, and far cooler, than the old-school stuffy beech-veneer desk with matching colour plastic cup filled with something masquerading as tea.
As more design and advertising agencies cut back on permanent staff and increase their use of freelancers, creative’s have had little choice but to become more mobile, flitting between clients, agencies and their home office with iPhone in one hand, super lightweight laptop in the other, portfolio balanced on their head. All well and good, but, there has been an unexpected consequence to all of this flexibility: the death of the creative buzz.
Time is money and the industry, in response to being squeezed on price from every direction, is behaving more like solicitors with its precious time. Communications and discussions between teams are carried out via e-mail, text, Skype and voicemail. Creative ideas sessions are fitted in – when possible – which typically leaves the freelancer working more and more on their own, missing out on that all important sounding board.
Enter: Creative Hot-Desking.
The concept is very different to the hot-desking of the past. Creative hot-desking offers desks by the hour and day in shared, open plan agency environments. Typically, these options provide stunning and inspiring environments with light and airy, contemporary décor and comfy, squidgy breakout areas. These workspaces give creative freelancers and media professionals a place to interact with others again, throw around ideas, hear and see what’s happening in their industry whilst enjoying their beloved organic tea, super smoothies and freshly ground coffee beans on brightly coloured cushions and achingly cool plastic chairs (creative’s are sensitive types you know – they need to be surrounded by beautiful things).
With everything going virtual, this brings back some desperately needed reality to the world of mobile working. With prices ranging from just £24 per day and only £15 for a half day, hot desks are being booked up quickly.
Sam Cranwell, Art Director of Provide Design set up a creative hot-desking environment outside of London in 2008 and has seen, first hand, the difference it has made to roving freelancers: “We work with many freelance designers and writers ourselves, many of whom had commented at one time or another how cut-off from the creative world they felt. When they pop in to use a desk for a day or two here at FunkBunk, they feel in touch again with a renewed enthusiasm for what they do. The buzz is fantastic. With so many interesting people coming and going, the place feels very dynamic. It’s a great concept that we hope to see grow outside London.”
To find out more about creative hot-desking, take a look around Funkbunk.com