You’d be forgiven for thinking the pandemic would spell the end of office working in London – but real estate entrepreneurs and executives are using design and innovation to draw the biggest, brightest talent back to the city.
The post-COVID slump forced companies to move online and rendered offices derelict. But, two years after the COVID outbreak, London is returning to normality. It is more important than ever to attract success to the city, especially with the next economic crisis on the horizon.
Derwent London, whose CEO is Paul Williams, is building industrial-style office buildings located in corporate hubs across the city. The DL/78 on Charlotte Street, their flagship development, boasts expansive open plan working, thoughtful design to encourage collaboration, and a dedicated wellness centre. Derwent prides itself on being a ‘creative office specialist’, constantly pushing for improvement and innovation in the development industry.
Derwent is as dedicated to building modern, high-quality buildings as it is to diversity and inclusion in the workforce. This involves working with the 10000 Black Interns project and progressing towards the Hampton-Alexander Review diversity targets for women in leadership roles. Derwent hopes that by encouraging diversity in the workplace, their focus on inclusion will be emulated by the businesses they support.
Coworking spaces have been essential to help entrepreneurs find their big break in the city. Huckletree founder Gabriela Hersham brought the WeWork culture to London in 2014, offering modern, collaborative spaces to allow businesses to find their feet. But what really sets them apart is their sense of community, access to industry experts, and free fitness and wellness classes.
They’ve seen over 5000 entrepreneurial businesses use their offices in London, Manchester, and Dublin since their founding. They have even helped 200+ of those businesses relocate to their own permanent offices once they’d outgrown Huckletree and provide support for new business owners to help them expand their knowledge.
Huckletree appeals to the millennial business owner, with themed offices in some of the trendiest areas of London, including Shoreditch and Soho. Cafés, so-called ‘curiosity couches’, and meditation spaces make these offices the place to be for the up-and-coming.
Sameer Gehlaut, founder of Clivedale, has ploughed investment into the capital, and he is behind some of the city’s most iconic new corporate offices, including 73-77 Brook Street and 20 Carlton House Terrace. The company recently signed the biggest lease of the decade with energy powerhouse BP, exemplifying the success of the project.
As companies come out of the WFH era and emphasise in-person client meetings, the biggest corporates and their teams demand more from the environment they work in. Impressive, well-designed offices are essential for high-flying companies, facilitating productivity and wowing well-known global clients.
Breathtaking interiors combined with prime locations, plus facilities such as cycle storage, gyms, and a fully digital environment, create a workspace that balances business with wellness. Top-level companies and clients are completely at home in these offices, also able to enjoy the culture and leisure offerings of the best parts of London.
Led by Chris Davies, Uncommon feels like a more grown-up coworking space than the likes of Huckletree. At its heart is a focus on sustainability and wellbeing, filling its offices with greenery and promising to be a net zero business by 2027. Its ultimate aim is to be carbon negative, and to only rely on ethically sourced products.
They have put digitisation at the forefront of the business, allowing clients to order from the café without having to leave their desks and to book meeting rooms seamlessly. Uncommon allows the newly starting-out business to build success in an environment optimised for productivity with everything at their fingertips.
Uncommon has a different approach to creating the perfect workspace compared to the likes of Huckletree and Second Home. Instead of providing more traditional wellness services, Uncommon has prioritised ergonomic design, standing desks to encourage stretching, and lighting and decor optimised for calm and focus. These are the top curated workspaces for those who want to take care of their mind whilst at the office.
Lipton Rogers Development, founded by Stuart Lipton, similarly focuses on sustainability but instead achieves this through maximising efficiency. It aims to build high-quality projects which stand the test of time, are low-cost to run thanks to their good energy ratings, and continue to support the community by putting people first in their designs.
Lipton Rogers Development has worked on some iconic projects, such as the Tate Modern, Unilever House, and HM Treasury which required overcoming the challenges of modernising a Grade I listed building. With many of London’s landmark buildings needing intensive upkeep and renovation, Lipton Rogers is ensuring that these buildings are maximised for the modern age and are suitable workspaces for businesses wishing to make the most of London’s architectural heritage.
Rohan Silva’s Second Home touts itself as the place to be for young creatives in London. Second Home has turned the office into an urban jungle, populating workspaces with countless plants and even moving an office completely outdoors in the case of their Hollywood branch.
Their London Fields office stands out with its family-friendly spin – equipped with an on-site nursery and café, this office responds to employee demands for flexible working and a good work-life balance. 60s modernism-inspired design is a common language throughout the spaces, with natural lighting and vibrant colours complementing some of the city’s most iconic and well-loved architecture.
These six executives are shaping the future of London’s landscape, both from a physical standpoint but also by influencing the kinds of people who live and work in the city. Offering only the best of the best, exciting talent and successful companies are being drawn to London to make the most of its cutting-edge facilities.