Over the course of 2020 kitchen tables became desks, bedrooms morphed into offices and our family and flatmates took on the role of colleagues. The line between work and the rest of our lives was already blurred – now it is virtually indecipherable but this shift in our working habits marks an opportunity for positive change.
Based below a housing development in Homerton, east London, is ARC Club – a new co-working space co-founded by Hannah Philp and Caro Lundin. With its opening delayed due to the pandemic the space has taken on a new resonance.
Hannah, who began her career in the financial services industry, quit her job in 2018 to develop the idea of a neighbourhood workspace. ‘I was allowed to work from home in previous jobs but, despite the temptation of avoiding a long commute, it was too lonely as I lived alone at the time’ she says. ‘There has been a dramatic decline in shared spaces over the past 30 years, which may be correlated with a rise in loneliness. and I was interested in how we might resuscitate the idea of a shared space that wasn’t a bar or restaurant. Coworking seemed a good place to start’.
The space was meticulously designed by Caro, ARC’s creative director, with practicality and scalability in mind – built on a modular pod system, operating on a standard sheet size grid, which is easily replicable. The aesthetic is pared-back and simple with carefully selected materials and second hand furniture incorporated too. Unlike most co-working spaces, the focus here is on the individual worker rather than entire teams.
‘Caro and I spent time considering how shared workspace could be remodelled to be more inclusive and address the challenges that were contributing to a rise in freelancing among groups largely excluded from the corporate office model, such as working parents, differently-abled professionals and people with plural careers’ explains Hannah. ‘Location was a key factor, which is why ARC Club Homerton is based in a residential area – and the majority of our members do live locally. It also influenced our decision to position ourselves at the more affordable end of the coworking market’. According to MoneySupermarket the average cost of coworking in London in November 2018 was £613 per month – ARC membership starts at a reasonable £150 per month. Alternatively, a £25 day pass affords those with erratic timetables a little more flexibility. ARC also endeavours to be an active part of the community, providing out of hours space, free of charge or at a discount to local charities and non-profit organisations.
Although many of us are slowly making our return to the office the remote workforce is likely to grow. ‘For them, we represent an exciting new third space’ says Hannah, ‘somewhere they can feel professional without the commute; populated by neighbours, not colleagues. We have a great opportunity to truly rethink work for a very new working world’.
Arc-club.com | Membership starts at £150 per month or £25 for a day pass