by Cal Lee, head of Workthere
So what has caused this sudden surge in co-working and serviced office activity? The Reading Tech Nation 2017 report outlines a number of reasons behind the growth, from having an increasingly strong talent pool on tap at the University of Reading that is willing to stay and work in the City, to the growing number of University linked incubators and accelerators, such as the Enterprise Centre and The Gateway Building at Thames Valley Science Park, which is now home to over 70 different early stage companies, as well as the start-up growth cluster at Grow@GreenPark
Reading is also home to many multi-national companies in the town centre as well as the out of town business parks such as Thames Valley Park, home to Microsoft, and PepsiCo and Cisco at Green Park. The combination of major multi-national companies, a growing start-up scene and a strong talent pool have helped to put the town on the map in terms of its appeal to co-working and serviced office operators.
Furthermore, its close proximity to London (25 minutes to Paddington by train) and Heathrow Airport, as well as the introduction of Crossrail in 2019, have been another pull factor for providers as well as companies who see Reading as being simply an extension of London.
Average desk prices in Reading for a private office range from £280 per person per month at the cheapest end of the scale and £375 to £400 per month for the newer spaces. Fora, which offers premium co-working space is closer to £500 per month for a private office.
Savills research notes that serviced office operators acquired 135,053 sq ft in 2017 and 43,600 sq ft to date in 2018 in Reading with names such as Spaces, Work.life Fora and Pure Offices all taking space.
Reading, as the commercial centre of the Thames Valley, now has a strong variety of co-working and serviced office space to complement its existing conventional office offer, providing a range of occupational options for both start-ups as they scale-up but also multi-national businesses considering the Thames Valley as their next move.