UK | Would You Work in a Phone Box ?
A New York-based co-working company has plans for the UK’s underused but iconic red public phone booths: it is transforming them into micro offices for workers on the go.
Bar Works will launch the project, known as Pod Works, in London, Leeds, Plymouth and Edinburgh as a more private alternative to co-working spaces and cafe offices.
“Entrepreneurs and others constantly on the move need a convenient, affordable and private place to work,” said Bar Works CEO Jonathan Black.
“Why should they sit in Starbucks or any other coffee bar when using one of our Pods will allow them to truly focus on their job before an important meeting or presentation at less than the price of two cups of coffee a week?”
The company is retrofitting each phone box with Wi-Fi as well as a printer, scanner, wireless mouse, 25-inch screen, hot drinks machine and power outlets.
“Our solution maximises the space, and we have a solution for security and membership-only access together with the other problem of people using the space for too long,” said Black.
A £19.99 monthly membership fee will grant users around-the-clock access to the booths via an app.
Bar Works, which has leased 23 red phone boxes via the Red Kiosk Company, expects the first pods to be operational in around eight weeks.
The UK’s distinctive red phone boxes originate from a 1923 design called the K2 by English architect Giles Gilbert Scott, whose projects included Battersea Power Station.
The question of what to do with the red phone booths has prompted a number of creative solutions. One in London contains a salad bar, some have been fitted with life-saving defibrillators, while others have been transformed into fish tanks in the name of art.
Pod Works’ move towards micro-spaces is a further development in the trend for co-working and other atypical office environments.
Design company Haworth noted in their 2016 white paper that companies are increasingly focusing on office design in recognition of the major role it plays in influencing company culture.
“Research suggests that architecture, interior design and furnishings provide a tangible way to support – or even change – the culture of an organisation,” said the paper.