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Tech Nomad Travel Guide: Google Campus London

It's the kind of place where you can probably tell your neighbor if you've just done something awesome.

If you’re an online freelancer or entrepreneur, you have the benefit of being able to work from anywhere. The nomadic, online workforce is growing larger and larger. An army of twentysomethings with MacBooks in hand is traversing the globe in search of strong coffee, fast wifi, and a space to call their own even if just for a few months. At The Tempest, we know what that’s like. As a global company, with our entire team working remotely we are part of that army and we’re here to tell you about The Tempest‘s favorite places to work around the world.

I recently spent a week working from London, a city that is notoriously expensive so finding a place to get articles written and interviews planned on the cheap was critical. Campus London has two different kinds of coworking spaces, a cafe that’s free for members and a Techhub floor where you can rent a desk. Becoming a member is easy, you just sign up online. You need to tell them what you are working on, whether a startup or your own freelancing business and you are approved shortly afterward.  Once you arrive, you pick up your keycard from reception and you have access to the cafe from 9am to 7pm Monday-Friday. When I was there it took about two hours to become full, so if you want your pick of workspace you should aim to get there before 11am.  So, let’s get down to the information you really need to know:

Internet: Great.

I wasn’t doing anything particularly demanding, but it was really fast, easy to get on and I had no problems at all. As someone who writes in cafes where I fight with crappy wifi regularly, it was a breath of fresh air.

Vibe: Good for extroverts.

I expected Campus to be pretty full of tech-bros and I wasn’t wrong, but there was a wide range of people working which tempered the bro factor. I met people working next to me and people were connecting over ideas and working together which gave the cafe an energy I was definitely vibing off of. It’s the kind of place where you can probably tell your neighbor if you’ve just done something awesome. If you are less of an extrovert, there are sound and distraction minimizing cubicles. You need to show up right at 9am to get one, but it’s a good option if you need some quiet focus to get things done.

Coffee/Food: Good, but expensive.

The cafe food and coffee costs about the same as any pricey cafe in London, you won’t save if you opt for a Campus Cafe latte but you don’t have to buy anything to stay all day and I saw plenty of people bring their own food and travel mugs of coffee. There are lots of chain cafes like Pret a Manger, EAT and Starbucks nearby. There’s a nice, but very expensive organic breakfast and lunch spot called Bel-Air about a block away. I got a sweet potato and chili hash with a poached egg to eat one day I accidentally arrived early- with a kombucha it was about 10 pounds. Definitely not daily fare for a freelancer or startup worker, but it was delicious.

Breakfast from Bel Air
Extra info:

They regularly host events at Campus and it would be a great place to be looking for work if you are a developer.

I did witness a weird interaction on my first day, though, that I can’t get out of my head. A couple guys were working near me and two spaces opened up at their table. A middle aged black woman came up and asked if the spots were taken and the guy told her that his friends were coming in an hour so she left and found one of the small cafe tables to set up with the person she was working with. The thing is, maybe half an hour later a pretty blonde woman asked the same question but this time he said it was free. It was weird and definitely a problem with him and not campus, but this is an illustration that the undesirable kind of tech bro can definitely be found there.