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UK telephone boxes to be turned into tiny offices

They'll offer internet, coffee and a large monitor.
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Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some of the UK's iconic telephone boxes will soon be converted into small personal offices. Bar Works, a company operating a trio of co-working spaces in New York, has leased 15 of BT's old call receptacles in London, Leeds and Edinburgh. They'll soon be kitted out with WiFi access, a printer and scanner, a 25-inch monitor, a wireless mouse, a plug powerbank and a hot drinks machine. Aimed at entrepreneurs, the "Pod Works" subscription will run you £19.99 per month and net you access to any box, at any time of day or night. Access will be regulated through a smartphone app.

"Entrepreneurs constantly on the move need a convenient, affordable and private place to work," Bar Works CEO Jonathan Black says. "Why should they sit in Starbucks or any other coffee bar when using one of our Pods will allow them to truly focus on their job before an important meeting or presentation at less than the price of two cups of coffee a week?"

The red telephone box is a cherished part of British culture. It was voted the nation's greatest design achievement, ahead of the Spitfire and the London taxi. These days, however, the smartphone is king, reducing telephone boxes to pavement-straddling relics. Some have been repurposed as WiFi hotspots, while others have been used to serve coffee and ice cream. Bar Works' office concept is novel, but we're a little skeptical about its practicality. Telephone boxes are pokey places, and visible to anyone walking by. They're also prime targets for theft and vandalism.

We'll reserve judgement for now. Perhaps the company can work some magic and, like the Tardis, make them feel an awful lot larger on the inside.

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