Last week I kicked off my remote, travelling work/life…thing in London. I was originally coming to London for a tricking event I was sponsoring through Invincible Tricking, however the event ended up getting cancelled, which meant I had a week in one of my favourite cities. Lucky me!
My biggest concern, though, was working. London is definitely not a cheap city, and co-working spaces reflect this. Cafes are always an option but you’re at the mercy of unreliable WiFi, lack of power points, and taking up space.
AndCo is a membership-based service, where for £20 per month you get unlimited access to restaurants, cafes, and bars throughout London to work from, fast WiFi and power points included. It’s a win-win; these venues get more people through the door who are likely to buy drinks or food while they’re there, and freelancers and those looking for hot-desking options get a nice alternative to a co-working space, a guaranteed desk, and a fantastic price. They even include a month’s free trial. How can you say no?
My first hotel was in Westminster, so I fired up the ol’ AndCo search and came across Cambridge St Kitchen, a cafe/bar in the Pimlico area. The booking process was incredibly easy once I had my account set up; all I had to do was lock in the times I’d be working, and donezo. I suspect I may have had an easier time of it due to being an early adopter of the service, depending on the day and the location you choose there may be fewer timeslots available.
After a quick stroll from my hotel, and letting the staff know I’d booked via AndCo, I was settled in happily in their downstairs workspace. I had the entire room to myself for the whole day! Again, early adopter, but still, I was in heaven.
AndCo’s approach to WiFi is pretty interesting. Rather than connecting to the venue’s WiFi, each location has a dedicated AndCo network, only accessible by those with an AndCo account and with a booked timeslot at that given time. Stay longer than you’ve booked? Whoops, there goes your WiFi. I loved this, as it meant my internet speeds weren’t crippled by too many cafe-goers Instagramming their meals or by the network set up by the venue itself, instead I had work-ready, super fast internet as soon as I sat down. Kudos, AndCo.
By the by, the guys and girls running Cambridge St Kitchen are amazing, making sure I had water throughout the day, and cooking a mean chicken sandwich for lunch. Highly recommended.
The next day I had to try them out again, this time in the Shoreditch area. I had worked all morning in a cafe and decided I needed some peace and quiet for my afternoon’s tasks. Unfortunately, I hadn’t looked at the weather report, and after my 15min walk (see: mad dash through the pouring rain) I arrived at Andina Shoreditch looking so much like a drowned rat that the waitress greeted me with a panicked “…are you alright?!”
Again, a super easy process getting set up (including a trip to the bathroom’s hand dryer to dry literally everything I was wearing 😅), a space at a table downstairs with no one else around, and a dream work spot.
I finished my AndCo experience by heading back to Cambridge St Kitchen on my last day in the area and finally ended up meeting someone else using the platform, a local React developer. Once the service grows further and more people use it I can see it becoming a great way to network and meet people in similar industries, especially as most of the time you’re already at a bar!
So! The pros and cons.
The price is excellent
Incredibly convenient when hot-desking in London
All the good parts of working at a cafe or restaurant without the bad
Really well-made booking process, account dashboard, and iOS app
Great support and team behind the platform – I posted about AndCo on my Instagram Story and they replied and re-shared it, great to see they’re actively involved in their community
The iOS app is set to UK only for some reason, meaning I couldn’t download it with my Australia Apple ID and manage my bookings when not on the web. I can’t think of a reason to limit it geographically, so perhaps it’s just an unintended error that will be fixed.
There are limited locations right now, and only in the central London area
Some bugs are present on the website (e.g. scrolling and moving the map when on mobile Safari), and search locking on to locations rather than business names (E.g. I search for ‘Cambridge St Kitchen’ and end up in ‘Cambridge UK’ instead).
Overall I loved using AndCo while working in London, and would definitely recommend the platform to anyone looking for new places to hot-desk 👌