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The 5 best co-working spaces on the South Coast

By Steve Charnock
29 June 2022

'Share and share alike', that's what we were all told as children. Yet what is a nice little saying designed to encourage youngsters to be kind instead of greedy doesn't really have much of a use in business, does it...?

... unless we're talking about co-working space, that is.

Large organisations will often own their own building or even office complex. SMEs may lease a floor somewhere. While slightly smaller firms may utilise serviced office space. All offer solutions, but are overheads that most sole traders, freelancers or 'solopreneurs' generally can't countenance.

This is where the sharing comes in.

Co-working spaces allow disparate groups of lone wolves to gather and share resources. Paying a set one-off, daily, weekly, monthly or even annual fee, they can use a shared space to 'co-work'. This can be collaboratively, or separately.

It's an increasingly popular way to work for the self-employed, giving them an alternative to home working. It's also a useful tool for businesses that like to keep their traditional workspace lean and sometimes require a little overspill space.

The south coast has many such co-working offerings. Here are five of our current favourites:

1. PLATF9RM - Brighton

Brighton & Hove’s biggest independent co-working community, PLATF9RM, welcomes all sorts of businesses and creatives. With an emphasis on what they call their 'lively and collaborative culture' at the forefront of it all.

There are over 1,000 members, all of whom have access to more than 30,000 sq. ft. of office, meeting and breakout space. The space is spread out across two sites - one in Brighton, the other in Hove.

Conferences, networking lunches, peer-to-peer learning sessions, gigs, games nights, secret supper clubs - there's always something going on.

There are a range of membership packages, starting from 40 hours a month, all the way up to 'unlimited access'. You can even sign up to be a 'resident', with your own dedicated desk space.

2. Old Bond Store, Southampton

Industrial but modern surrounds make for a unique-looking and feeling working environment at Southampton's Old Bond Store. An 'on-demand' approach effectively allows users of the seriously classily-designed space to 'pay as they go', offering a genuinely flexible option.

Parking and a central location makes it appealing for occasional use - say - for meetings. But its comfortable and stylish interior - plus the complimentary refreshments - may very well convince you to take up a more permanent residence inside office hours.

3. THIS Workspace - Bournemouth

Located in the old Echo newspaper building, which is an absolute dreamscape for fans of architecture and Art Deco, THIS Workspace really is a thing of beauty.

There's everything you'd expect and hope from a co-working space, all wrapped up in luxurious and opulent surroundings. The only downside from a day spent working from THIS in Bournemouth is that you'll go home with a head full of expensive interior design ideas. So here's hoping your business thrives while you're in there working...

4. The Host Space

Not all co-working spaces need to be huge sites with room for hundreds of freelancers and lone workers. Some offer smaller spaces and a community feel. Such is the case with The Host Space in Portsmouth.

Found in Pompey's oldest building, St. Luke's Church, use of the place couldn't be simpler. Book online, turn up, use the space, pay the extremely reasonable fee (£7 a day, £50 a month for unlimited use) via debit or credit card and then go home!

Enjoy a seat, deskspace, high speed WiFi, use of breakout areas, unlimited tea and coffee and a few other perks for what really is an incredibly low price.

5. Plus X - Brighton

Open since 2020, Brighton's Plus X is some 53,00 square feet of office space across three storeys. A serious amount of time, effort, money, thought and design has gone into the place. The layout is modern and clever, the lighting is dramatic and well thought out. This isn't just an old office with some extra chairs and beanbags thrown into it, it's the future of co-working space.

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