Need some workspace? Go to Barclays

Of all the places contractors and freelancers could turn to, Barclays may be the best place to find some temporary workspace believe it or not.

It turns out that the High Street bank is partnering with charity 3Space to make these temporary workspaces available for people who need them. We’re talking social entrepreneurs, start up companies, and ostensibly umbrella company contractors or freelance workers who don’t have their own office at home – or who need a more official workspace that isn’t in their garage, basement, or spare room.

Barclays is taking four different premises it owns and transforming them into places more suited to do business. On top of that the bank won’t even be charging rent to anyone who wants to move in and set up shop, something that will undoubtedly appeal to those that have more ambition than working capital.

Barclays calls it the Hatch initiative. The first of the four workspaces opened in Oxford recently, while the next three will be ready to go later in the New Year. The Oxford location actually used to be a bank vault, though now it’s been refurbished into a maker space, complete with workshop tools and a 3D printer to make it easy for anyone to get some real hardcore creative work done.

Now just because the Oxford site has a practical creative flavour to it doesn’t mean that the other three will follow suit. Barclays and 3Space say that each one will be bespoke in order to cater to the particular needs of start ups and entrepreneurs in each of the other communities. Each site will have access to Barclays personnel and there’ll be a focus on social media to boot.

So this is the kind of project I can definitely get behind. It’s one thing to have your own office space at home with a desk and a computer, but not every entrepreneur and contractor is content to just survive on office work; more industrious or practical blokes that work in producing actual physical objects might not have the workspace available at home in order to produce prototypes or move from a prototype to a mass-produced commercial product. With business rents being so high, it’s incredibly important to be able to access free professional workspaces like Barclays and 3Space are providing; I can only hope that more firms come forward with similar initiatives.

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