The future of… our iconic red phone boxes

As a society of avid mobile phones users, these quintessentially British landmarks now have an average of 1 call per week made from them. Their main purpose these days serves as the scenic background for tourists taking generic “I’m in England” snaps.

So it seemed about time to find a way to give these neglected phone boxes a new lease of life. Bar Works, a US co-working/shared office space provider, has spotted an innovative way to turn them into something useful – on-the-go office spaces. More than 20 (with plans to expand) of these phone boxes all round London will be equipped with a printer and scanner, power outlets, Wi-Fi, a 25-inch computer screen and the added bonus of free tea and coffee. Membership to the booths, called Pod Works, costs £19.99 a month. You don’t get to stay in there long though – you’re booted out after an hour to make sure people don’t set up camp in there.

Working productively in such a tiny space might not be for everyone – but it’s nonetheless a clever way to turn on-the-go downtime into productive time between meetings. Mini-offices are not the only repurposing of these phone booths. Spier’s Salads transforms one in Bloomsbury Square into a salad stall twice a week, and another in Cumbria has even been kitted out to become a defibrillator station.

With the trend of flexible, on-the-go working in full swing, Pod Works is certainly on to something.







Amy Cowpe