A quick guide to the world of start-up workspace

Office spaces

Offering flexible rental terms, collaborative working environments and attractive workspaces, these spaces are already home to many of London's budding entrepreneurs, as well as its creative talent.


Co-working space tends to consist of a large open plan area offering shared desks where businesses can work alongside one another. Not only does this create a more sociable working environment, it also helps foster business support networks, with start-ups sharing everything from skills, to business contacts and supplier recommendations.
Co-working spaces typically requires their users to become members. There are many different membership options, which allow SMEs to spend varying amounts of time and money in these spaces. These include;
Fixed desk - members are given unlimited access to a specific desk within a co-working space. Fixed desks will often come with some limited storage for members.
Co-working resident - members are given unlimited access to a co-working area. Desks are not reserved and are therefore subject to availability on the day.
Flexible - members have time limited access to a co-working area. This allows for greater flexibility and providers a cheaper option for those SMEs that either don’t need or are unable to take on a full time membership.
Hot desk - the most flexible of all the options with members paying by the day, half day or hour for access to a desk in a co-working area.


Incubators offer support for businesses during their start-up phase, with the aim of actively enabling business growth during the pre-revenue or early growth phase. Support often takes the form of training and assistance in areas such as business management, business mentoring and help with access to funding. However, many incubators also offer space at reduced rents, although typically as a company becomes more established rental levels rise.
Incubators tend to offer individual office units, although some are beginning to include co-working space as part of their offer.


In many ways accelerators are similar to incubator. However, they can be differentiated by their tendency to offer specialist business support targeted at specific sectors. Many incubators have an accelerator programme as part of their business support offer.
Many accelerators feature a competitive entry system, offering investment and access to finance in exchange for equity.

Artist spaces

The London Open Workspaces map is the first comprehensive map of London's artists studios. Users are able to search by the facilities provided, as well as by the average cost of renting a studio. The map reveals the huge range of artists' spaces on offer
NOTE: In order to be eligible for the map studios must provide a minimum of 5 studios for inclusion in order to be eligible for inclusion. In addition, only studios that are publically accessible have been listed. This means studios with restrictive access criteria have been excluded (e.g. studios provided by universities or art colleges which cater exclusively to enrolled students).

Maker spaces

Maker spaces are a rapidly emerging workspace type. Usually working on a paid membership basis similar to those found in co-working spaces, maker spaces offer access to a shared workshop space, as well as tools. These spaces facilitate various forms of small-scale manufacturing for small businesses, intrigued amateurs and enthused "hobbyists". Tools can range from ordinary handheld tools, to more advanced hardware including 3D printers, CNC milling machines and plasma cutters.
The London Open Workspaces map is in the process of being populated with London's maker spaces, and will provide users with detailed information about the services each space provides.

How to use this map

The London Open Workspaces map can be used to search London's start-up workspaces by location. Simply scroll over the map and click on a point. A small window will appears showing the name of the workspaces, along with important information such as website, contact details, opening hours and a summary of the services on offer.
Users can also search the map by workspace type. By clicking on the workspace tabs in the top right corner you can turn the three workspace types on or off. Clicking on the arrow in the right hand corner of these tabs creates a dropdown list of the workspaces currently visible on your browser.
Finally users can search London's workspaces by the services on offer. Clicking on the "Advanced Search" tab allows you to find those workspaces providing the facilities you value most. Each workspace type has its own search criteria. Having chosen up to 6 different facilities, a list of matching workspaces across London will appear on the right hand side of the screen.
In the case of artist spaces users are able to search by the average cost of renting a studio. This is worked out as £… per square foot per anum (£…/ sqft p/a). It should be noted that all costs are approximate, and may not include additional costs such as business rates, utilities and service charges.

Help/user guide


There are three methods of searching:
  • Manual
  • Drop down list
  • Advanced search
Manual: The top left hand corner contains a search box. You can search by typing in a postcode, a road name or a place and clicking on the magnifying glass. If there are several options these will be highlighted in a box on the screen. If there is only one option the map will zoom to that location displaying a marker at the location.
Drop down list: The top right corner contains a list of the 3 types of workspaces, each list can be expanded (using the down arrow) to display a list of workspaces with range of the current map view (i.e. those workspaces not visible on the map will not be listed). If you click on a workspace in these lists the map will zoom to the selected workspace and display a marker at the location.
Note: Clicking on the name of the drop down list (i.e. Office spaces, Artist spaces or Maker spaces) will hide/how those work spaces on the map.
Advance search: The top right corner contains an advanced search button, when clicked this will expand to allow users to search for the type of workspace, facilities/services provided, the known sectors (e.g. architecture, marketing, etc…), etc… for each given workspace. Once the search button has been pressed the results will appear in a new drop down list (under the existing drop down lists).
Note: to clear this advance search list; click on the clear button in the advance search or the X next to the search results heading.

Selecting a workspace

The coloured markers/symbols represent the known workspaces; hovering your mouse over a workspace (on either the map or the 'Drop down list') displays the name of the workspace at the bottom of the screen (this will also highlight the workspace on the map and in the Drop down list').
To select a workspace, click on the workspace you wish to choose, this will 'pop-up' an 'information box'.

Information box

The information box is will appear when you click on the map, this will show the information for any visible workspace that is with a small tolerance of the location you click. This will show a new 'tab' for each workspace with the workspace type as a heading, click on the tab to show the information for the given workspace.
Initially the information box will show a summary, this can be expanded by clicking the 'More information' link.

Show map legend/key

Clicking the 'Legend' button in the bottom left hand corner brings up the map key/legend box. This explains what the different symbols and colours shown on the map represent.

Moving around the map

The '+' and '-' symbols in the top left hand corner can be used to zoom in and out.