Need a temporary office? Step into one of Britain's red telephone boxes

red telephone box office public phone boxes  covent garden london england july 10 2012
Some of Great Britain’s most iconic sights will soon serve as more than the backdrop for your Instagram photos — New York City-based Bar Works, a co-working company, is planning on outfitting those classic red telephone boxes with 25-inch screens, scanners, printers, a wireless mouse, and Wi-Fi connection. That’s right — there will soon be tiny little offices scattered about the streets of a number of British cities, and the best part? Like any true 21st-century co-working space, they come complete with free coffee.

Bar Works is starting small with this new venture, turning 15 of these classic British booths into mini workstations. Situated across five British cities, including Leeds, Edinburgh, and London, the first office is set to be opened in July. “It’s an alternative to, say, Starbucks but obviously it provides you with total privacy,” said Jonathan Black, the British founder of Bar Work. In New York, the company allows entrepreneurs, freelancers, and anyone else looking for a temporary office to rent out one of their bar-themed workspaces for a monthly fee.

The business model across the pond will stay largely the same, and Britons will be invited to work out of a telephone booth, or one of these “Pod Works” for $29 a month.

Black already has lofty expectations for the pods’ success, anticipating “at least 10,000 members” by year’s end. After all, these new workstations seem to tap into users’ nostalgia, combining the old-school feel of the technology of yesterday with the innovation of today. And indeed, even without mini offices inside them, these red telephone boxes have quite the dedicated following. Decommissioned booths are sold for sums that sometimes reach up to £10,000, around $14,500.

So if you find yourself across the Atlantic anytime soon and in need of a place to send a quick email, consider stepping inside a refurbished red telephone booth. You may be surprised by what you find inside.


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