As part of the popular co-working space phenomenon, the red phone booths in England are being converted into tiny offices.
The red double-decker busses and the red phone booths are iconic symbols of life in London. But the phone booths no longer serve their original communication purpose since the existence of pay phones disappeared with the expanded use of cell phones and smart phones.
However, there is no a purpose for the red phone booths, thanks to the thinking of New York City-based Bar Works Inc.
Bar Works is refitting the phone booths in five cities in the United Kingdom with all the equipment needed to serve as a temporary office: a 25-inch computer monitor, scanners, printers, a wireless mouse and Wi-Fi connection. These 15 “Pod Works’’ offices are available for a subscription fee of $29 a month.
“It’s an alternative to Starbucks but obviously it provides you with total privacy,’’ said Bar Works chief executive Jonathan Black, a native of England who now lives in New York, in an interview with Reuters. “The red boxes were actually put in for convenience, so naturally they all hold very high-profile locations.”
Bar Works has converted locations in New York for use as bar-themed workspaces with a similar payment plan for access.
This plan serves a dual purpose. It offers temporary office space for those who do not need a traditional office but require office equipment and communications devices, and it keeps those darling phone booths on the streets of London, Edinburgh and other UK cities.
In 2015, the red phone booth was designated the greatest British design of all time.
The Pod Works are expected to be operational by mid-July.
The so-called “co-working” space market has exploded over the last three years. Industry leaders like Regis and WeWork have reported huge growth, and there are now more than 7,000 companies buying work space and converting it for use under different subscription or rental programs.
The industry suffers from inconsistent and unpredictable revenues, however, and some co-working companies are targeting specific groups to create a community of startups and entrepreneurs. In New York, there are co-working spaces specifically for designers, companies owned and operated by women, writers, and IT firms.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.