Your work space matters. Statistics suggest you will spend approximately 35% of your lifetime at your desk, so it helps if your desk is somewhere that you actually, well… like.
Perhaps it’s for this reason that Le Bureau doesn’t look like an office. Try as you might, you won’t find a beige wall, strip light or polyester carpet anywhere. Instead, a giant, gold Buddha greets you on arrival. The walls of the meeting rooms are lined with flock wallpaper in rainbow shades. The Members’ Lounge is a mix of floral furnishings, metallic accents and geometric lampshades – which sounds like something out of a Happy Monday’s video, but it just works. “The design is so important,” says Le Bureau’s business operations manager, Kinga. “Because it’s so pretty here, people barely feel like they’re at work; everyone is more relaxed and friendly.”
‘Friendly’ is a word that is unashamedly bandied around at Le Bureau. New members last an average of fifteen minutes before someone says hello and invites them to ‘the Vic’ (more on our assiduous local boozer later).
As in the heart of any home, the kitchen is the most convivial place in the office, a spot where introductions are made, weekends discussed and coffee is drunk by the gallon. The work areas are set out in a light, airy, open plan formation and whilst it’s common to see members catching up over their walls, the wide, spacious desks afford privacy when deadlines loom.
Le Bureau is also smaller than other offices and co-working spaces, which gives it a more intimate feel. For small businesses, and particularly individuals who work by themselves, it offers a ‘big firm’ experience without the nefarious office politics and strict hierarchy. “It’s nice being a small company here because you have the friendship of working in a larger company,” says graphic designer Michelle Noel.
The sheer variety and proximity of so many other businesses means there is a thriving trade in b2b. Whether for favour or fee, members swap services and skills on a regular basis. If you want a website designed, marketing advice, a recruitment service or simply someone to help you flesh out ideas, stand on your chair and yell and someone will usually be able to help. (Or maybe just send an email. That’s probably better). If none of our members can help, they’ll sure as eggs know someone who can.
Larissa Cairns, owner of interiors brand The Linen Works, counts at least ten different companies she has worked within the single year she has been at Le Bureau. “Rather than going out for a meeting and losing hours from my working day, I can just pop over and see someone for a quick chat. You are also less likely to have anyone mess you around too…”
Because members already know one another, the trust required for joint enterprise exists before the business begins. Also, try queuing for coffee behind someone you’ve just screwed over.
For those unfamiliar with the area, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Le Bureau isn’t well connected, especially without the reassuring sight of a Tube sign anywhere in view. However, with Queenstown Road and Battersea Park Stations minutes from the front door, you can get into Waterloo and Victoria respectively quicker than you can expense an Uber. Regular buses go into the centre of town and nearby Clapham, Wandsworth and Brixton mean entertainment is covered.
Too far? The Vic is just across the road. The Victoria pub on Queenstown Road is a Le Bureau institution. Here you will find members propping up the bar, especially on Friday nights, and it is not uncommon for business to be conducted over a drink. Or two. Or ten. By that point, business has usually fallen by the wayside.
And if leaving the office seems daunting, there is a vibrant social scene within the Le Bureau walls that includes wine tasting, running clubs and networking sessions – not to mention the weekly pilgrimage to the Members’ Lounge for cheese, cake and antipasti, laid on by the operations team every Friday afternoon.
“I looked around a lot of places before I came across Le Bureau,” says Mick Wells, owner of Wells Interiors. “The fact that it’s open 24/7 is really important but honestly, nowhere else compares. Low ceilings, drab walls – nah. Le Bureau is just… easy.”Back to Blog