The way people work has changed. The number of self-employed and freelance workers in the UK has increased from around 3.3 million in 2002, to over 5 million in 2018 and rising, leading to a larger proportion of Britain’s workforce now operating from home or seeking out an office substitute than ever before.
However, the existing co-working options bring with them their own pitfalls: too noisy and distracting or lacking in decent Wi-Fi and plug access. Meanwhile there are many beautiful restaurants which are very busy in the evening but quieter at lunch and not open at all for much of the rest of the day.
Des Gunewardena, chairman and CEO alongside entrepreneur Dominika Sadowska have developed The Workroom.
Launching as an app on 10 June 2019, initially in five of D&D London’s locations including 100 Wardour St, Bluebird Chelsea and White City, Fiume and Radici, it combines the aspects of a private members club, co-working space and restaurant to become a freelance office solution for modern professionals.
Empty bars are transformed into standing desks, unused booths into conference rooms, resulting in restaurants being full during quieter times, where the space may not otherwise be fully utilised. The Workroom also serves as a platform connecting restaurants with the increasing numbers of freelancers and entrepreneurs.
The app will allow users to select their location of choice and book a table which will then serve as their office for the day, available as individual day passes or multiple bundles of passes to be used as and when required.
Each Workroom location will have Wi-Fi, plug sockets as standard, complimentary tea, coffee and water. Also, as The Workroom will be based in a number of established restaurants, the food will be available for workers.
Des Gunewardena, of D&D London and co-founder of The Workroom, said: “There’s been a big shift in the way Londoners operate day-to-day. I myself am hardly ever in our office and I’ve certainly noticed more people using our restaurant spaces to work in and while other operators are trying to combat that, we thought why not embrace it? Introducing The Workroom initially into five of our restaurants will hopefully make them busier during quieter times through the week and also bring in a new audience who may not have visited before.”
Dominika Sadowska, co-founder of the Workroom added: “It is incredible to be able to work with such forward thinking and visionary partners as Des and D&D. We are pushing the boundaries and challenging the old norms to serve this new crowd of modern professionals. The idea behind The Workroom is about ‘redefining the work space’, as well as redefining what ‘work’ is.”
Looking to the future, The Workroom has plans to expand across the capital, branching out into other restaurants in addition to the original five.