By Erica Bray
The traditional office cubicle could become a relic of the past, if Elliot Gold and David Kasky have their way. The business partners co-founded WORKLIFE, a shared work space in London’s trendy Camden neighborhood that caters to start-ups and freelancers seeking a creative entrepreneurial community.
WORKLIFE (www.Work.life) is part of a bigger global phenomenon in a shifting work culture: It fills a need for those forgoing corporate careers to forge their own businesses, yet need a flexible and affordable environment in which to fertilize those entrepreneurial ambitions.
“A lot of these people who have this aspiration of starting their own business find themselves working in their living room or in a coffee shop, and it's not quite what they had in mind,” Gold says. “What we're trying to do at WORKLIFE is provide some of that infrastructure in terms of the workspace and the environment in which a small business can flourish and grow.”
With Camden emerging as one of the fastest-growing startup scenes in the U.K., and startup-hungry Millennials expected to make up 75-percent of the workforce by 2025, Gold and Kosky knew that there was an entrepreneurial audience to serve. (Both also have experience mentoring small businesses from their respective financial backgrounds.)
The 7,000-square-foot environment, which opened this summer and is membership-based, is a sleek and inspiring blend of wood, steel and glass. It boasts a unique combination of both collaborative and private spaces, plus standing desks, “mood rooms” and, of course, plenty of Wi-Fi bandwidth and coffee. (Not to mention, free Friday beers from nearby Camden Town Brewery for WORKLIFE members.)
It’s a flexible environment to foster innovation, with an innovative domain name to match: www.Work.life. For Gold, the "not-com" website address epitomizes the forward thinking they hope to foster at WORKLIFE, a name chosen because it blends the two things that Millennial workers (happily) tend to blur: work and life.
“You see some really obscure ‘dot-com’ names, just to have the ‘dot-com,’ and I wanted something short and succinct,” Gold says of the "not-com" URL choice. “I wanted something a little bit out of the ordinary, something that stood out from the crowd.”
The website is successfully setting the tone for the brand, according to Gold, as it’s where all social media traffic is directed so that interested entrepreneurs can make a reservation to tour the space and apply for a membership. “It’s a key marketing tool for us,” he says.
Among the first major tenants at WORKLIFE: MTV and Dr. Martens. While not start-ups in the traditional sense, these high-profile companies serve as creative anchors to inspire and attract more entrepreneurs to the space – and certainly boosts WORKLIFE’s credibility as it seeks to expand into other areas of London. Other tenants occupying this first space in Camden include fashion bloggers and a diverse assortment of start-ups.
“There’s a huge demand for this space right now,” Gold says, pointing to the success of other shared workspace providers sprouting up around the globe. “Entrepreneurship in the U.K. has really gone through the roof in the last couple of years, and [WORKLIFE] can provide support for these businesses.”