Women Only Co-working Spaces Land In The UK

Co-working spaces have been taking over the business world in the last few years, with WeWork constantly opening new locations across multiple countries. We were lucky to join WeWork when it launched its first London location in Southbank and have seen new locations pop up every few months. Now, a new concept which started from New York City, women only co-working spaces, has crossed the pond and is entering the co-working space, ready to compete and take over a big chunk of the market, going after female business owners and women in business in general.

New York’s ‘The Wing’ and London’s ‘All Bright’ are setting a new course for co-working spaces, focusing only on women and creating spaces where women can not only work and network but also get support and feel secure. With a high volume of allegations and testimonies of sexual harassment in the workplace coming into the light, it is hardly any wonder why women need a space where they will not be harassed and abused and why they are willing to pay and join long waiting lists just to be accepted in these brand new co-working spaces/social clubs.

 The Wing/ image from Business Insider

The Wing/ image from Business Insider

What are the benefits of co-working spaces?

A co-working space is so much more than just an office. Speaking from our own personal experience, the benefits of these spaces start where your own business’s space ends. Does that sound confusing? Well, let us explain. Co-working spaces are where minds come together; you have your small office or hot desk, where you can sit and focus on your great idea. However, right next to you and in fact all around you, hundreds of people are working on their own brilliant plans.

Putting so many entrepreneurs under one roof makes for a creative environment, where innovations can revolutionise the business world. The role of the space and its community managers is to provide opportunities for everybody to meet. By organising anything from the simplest after work drinks to give people the ability to meet and network, to bringing in guest speakers who can give talks on their respective areas of expertise, they help founders grow their businesses and utilise the best hacks in order to succeed.

It is never too hard to get feedback on your business and advice is free and openly given. Business partnerships can form over coffee or lunch and working together to benefit each other’s businesses is something you can see all around you.

Co-working spaces offer much more than networking opportunities though. Yoga and mindfulness classes, manicures and even nap time can be important self care activities to enhance productivity through a calm and relaxing environment. Keeping yourself energised and motivated can work wonders for your work performance.

 The Wing/ image from Business Insider

The Wing/ image from Business Insider

Why women only?

Now the question is, what do women only co-working spaces offer that mixed gender ones can’t? The Wing’s mission, as stated on their website, is ‘to create space for women to advance their pursuits and build community together’. Based on the early 20th century women’s club movement, which came about as a reaction to the male dominated social clubs, where women were not even allowed in in most cases, the Wing is trying to revive female solidarity and provide a safe supportive space. As a parallel to the original women’s club movement, the Wing’s founders seek to create a space for ‘pioneering women who [provide] each other with encouragement and community at a time when they [need] it most’.

 The AllBright

The AllBright

The UK’s answer, The AllBright also traces its roots and inspiration to the early 20th century; quoting Virginia Wolf, ‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’ and seeking to create that ‘room of her own’ feeling within their space in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury. The AllBright calls itself ‘the members club for working women’ and aims to be ‘the first space of its kind in the UK for women to create, connect and collaborate’.

It is clear that both members clubs are holding themselves to high standards, hoping to become a place that can support women and give them the chance to grow professionally and financially but also give them a space for self improvement and relaxation. Apart from the usual meeting rooms, call rooms and desk spaces, the Wing’s facilities include a library, a lactation room, nap rooms and even a beauty room, where makeup freebies and blow outs are available. The AllBright, which will open its doors in early 2018, boasts a ‘space to work, host meetings and socialise along with curated events, talks, exhibitions, debates and networking meet-ups’ as well as ‘treatment rooms’ which will ‘allow members to relax, recharge and meditate’.

In an article by one of the AllBright’s founders, Debbie Wosscow, she stated the following:

Our objective is to put women front and centre of the conversation. None of what we’re doing is anti-men. We have men on our advisory board and male investors. Many of the businesses that we’re talking to have male co-founders, too. This is simply about levelling the playing field. It is about creating an ecosystem where the UK becomes the best place in the world to be a female leader. And sometimes women need to be separate to turbo charge their progress.

In light of the shocking revelations about the extent of sexism and harassment in the business world along with most other male-dominated industries, it is no wonder how much women who are facing such issues on a daily basis would benefit from a space where they can be free of any kinds of harassment or gender based discrimination.

Excited?

For US women, the Wing offers two spaces in New York currently with a third one coming soon and a fourth one to open in Washington, DC. The waiting list is quite long and memberships range between $2,350 to $2,700 a year. In the UK, the AllBright will launch its first space in London in early 2018, with founder membership is priced at £600, plus a joining fee of £250. This is most certainly the beginning of a new era of female business leaders and we are excited to see the changes those women only co-working spaces will bring about in the business world.

As for us here at Shello we will continue to provide our service for free, a women-only space online to connect with a supportive and friendly global network of women and find and share knowledge about the things that matter to us.