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A year in a shared office

With the New Year on the horizon, we are looking back at the extraordinary events and achievements that shaped our shared Battersea office in 2017. Le Bureau: it’s been a pleasure.

JANUARY

Food was the first thing on our mind as we kicked off 2017. For one week, our shared office went sugar-free, swapping the daily biscuit basket for fruit and healthy snacks. It was a welcome change for most of our co-working members… although no-one complained when the biscuits came back.

We also welcomed new members Role Models and sought out events in Battersea to beat the January blues.

FEBRUARY

February was all about small businesses. We looked at both the triumphs and challenges of running an SME, tackling issues that directly affect members working in our office space. Fortunately, Smarty introduced us to their innovative software designed specifically for start-ups and Wandswroth Enterprise Week offered a wealth of practical advice.

One of the greatest challenges facing start-up founders is finding time to switch off. We took some time out with Simon Woodward, founder of Polar Bear Live and the office’s resident hypnotherapist-in-training. Several of our members have found respite in his 1-1 sessions.

MARCH

Money mattered in March. Chancellor Philip Hammond set out a spring budget that appeared to adversely effect the self-employed – a huge demographic in any co-working office.

Still, there was much to celebrate as St Patrick’s Day arrived in Wandsworth and new members Notion Digital settled into their desk space.

APRIL

Wandsworth is renowned as a borough that incubates successful start-ups. We were delighted to work alongside the Your Business, Your Growth in April, a scheme that offers advice and guidance to small businesses looking to grow. Talking of growing…

We also got to enjoy a meal at Stagolee’s, a hot chicken and liquor joint that should be on every south Londoner’s to-do list. The warm, Southern charm of founders Jordan Harris and Ashley James reminded us that work-life balance is key – here are some of our top tips for finding the line

South American food

MAY

With over 200 members working in our co-working office, it’s little surprise that there are just as many hobbies and side hustles. From triathlons to photography, stunt driving to spoon whittling, we are a talented bunch. In May, resident blogger Rosy Edwards introduced us to her latest venture The Riff Raff, a writers’ community that champions debut authors and supports aspiring writers.

We also met two new members. Inner Circle are the founders of an eponymous dating app that has gone global. A little closer to home, Yogi2me will send a qualified yoga teacher to your front door so you can enjoy a yoga session in the most comfortable surroundings. Founder Sarah Drai tempted Le Bureau members away from their desk space for weekly yoga in Battersea Park. Thank you, Sarah, for all your hard work – some soothing yoga will be much needed after the excesses of Christmas.

Yogi2me at Le Bureau

JUNE

The big news for June was the General Election. We stayed up all night, put the Champagne on ice and nervously anticipated the result…only to wake up and find there was no result. As the Conservatives went into crisis talks with the DUP, we pondered what the (eventual) outcome would mean for Wandsworth’s small businesses.

Recent Spaces have been co-working at Le Bureau for several years so it was a joy to finally catch up and hear what they are working on.

Recent Spaces | Le Bureau

JULY

With the weather finally warming up, thoughts once again turned to wellbeing. Spier’s set up shop at Battersea Studios, offering our co-working members a healthy alternative to a staid ‘al desko’ lunch. And with the issue of workplace wellbeing coming increasingly to the fore, we looked at what steps employers should be taking to keep their staff healthy, happy and productive.

We topped it all off with a look at the best summer events Wandsworth had to offer.

AUGUST

If the first half of the year was all about work, August was definitely geared towards play. On a balmy Friday night, over 40 members gathered at Battersea hot spot Magic Kingdom for a night of wild abandon. OK, mild abandon… but there were some sore heads the next day.

A second outpost of beloved Tooting cocktail joint Brick & Liquor opened its doors in Clapham. We were lucky enough to chat to owner David Layton about good hospitality and even better drinks, and we can’t wait to visit.

New research claimed that working in close proximity to your co-workers can improve collaboration and we were keen to explore how this might apply to a shared office space. Conversely, we also discovered just how much time we waste at work

Procrastination in a shared office

SEPTEMBER

September took on a Spanish flavour as we welcomed Battersea Spanish to the office for a night of tapas and sangria. We also said ‘hola’ to new members Dock & Bay, the beach towel entrepreneurs who came to us fresh from their triumph in the Dragon’s Den.

PR firm Milk & Honey had joined Le Bureau a few months earlier but, with their scope covering such a vital area for start ups, we were delighted to catch up with founder and owner Kirsty Leighton and discover the secrets to successfully starting your own business.

Andy Jefferies of Dock & Bay

OCTOBER

Come October, all we could talk about was flex – flexible working, that is. As an issue that garners column inches all year round, we explored what it involves and whether it is a feasible option for the SMEs in our shared office.

Few topics are as divisive as networking. Co-working offices are a natural setting for start-ups to network but how and why should co-workers get involved? We put together a few ideas to help co-workers share more than their desk space.

As for office friends of the four-legged variety, research emerged to prove the benefits of having a dog in the office. Canine companions are currently banned in our Battersea office space, but we keep dreaming…

A close co-worker community in Battersea

NOVEMBER

In November, we turned our attention to the latest innovations in our Battersea surrounds. This included searching out the best independent coffee shops this side of the river and providing insight into the expansion of the Northern line and the two new tube stops being built at Battersea Power Station and Vauxhall.

Battersea Power Station

DECEMBER

Can it really be December already? We rang in the start of December with our annual office Christmas party on the 1st of the month. Members gathered for a three-course meal at Gazette in Battersea before dancing the night away at the Four Thieves in Clapham.

There was yet more cause for celebration as Le Bureau was named Best SME at the Wandsworth Business Awards 2017. The award is a testament to the hard work of the Le Bureau office managers and the continued enthusiasm of our members in making our shared Battersea office a truly special place to work.

And as our hangovers subsided, we were finally able to look ahead to 2018. How will the political climate affect start-ups? Will cash become obsolete? And as co-working continues to gain momentum, who will we be welcoming into our Battersea office? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, all that remains is to wish everyone at Le Bureau a very, very happy Christmas and health, happiness and prosperity for 2018.

Le Bureau members at the 2017 Christmas party

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