WFH has never been cooler, thanks to smart remote work and tech-packed pod stores.

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WFH has never been cooler, thanks to smart remote work and tech-packed pod stores.

Space Republic, a software startup that creates self-service smart pod stores for remote employees under the Pluto brand, is planning to expand this year, with plans to open shops and gyms.

In St Albans, Hertfordshire, consumers can enter one of five Pluto pods, as well as a pilot pod for research and Purifi, the company’s own air cleansing technology.

Young professionals, parents, and entrepreneurs such as coaches and consultants are the initial users, with charges ranging from £29 per month for two hours per week to pay-as-you-go.

“We’re not just making furniture; we’re also developing a proprietary platform.

“This is practical tech for local usage, tailored to specific needs,” explains Luke Aviet, chief executive and co-founder of the company.

“People can simply unlock a pod with their phone, and we’ve extended our opening hours from 6am to 10pm after hearing from a number of people who want to use the pods for weekend work or studying.”

They teamed together three years ago with childhood friend and furniture designer Greig Fensome to address a property mismatch “between what individuals want and what was available locally, as well as address how space and time are being used to make it more efficient,” they explain.

“We opted to focus on the changing nature of high streets, the demise of physical retail, and workforce mobility because our expertise mixed nicely. That was before the outbreak; now the focus has shifted to us.

“The plug-and-play modular architecture of our pods makes it simple to reconfigure empty retail locations and assist drive trade back to high streets while also providing a change of scene for home workers.”

Unlike office pods, Space Republic’s high-tech Pluto store is built for public usage, from booking software to security.

“There is only one person inside a pod at a time in our regulated environment, and it is entirely sealed,” Aviet continues.

The London-based startup now has a workforce of six people thanks to a £500,000 investment that included angel support.

An Innovate UK funding will be used to support the development of the Purifi purification system. It was carried out in collaboration with Brunel University to see if Far-light UVC’s technology might kill diseases like coronaviruses in indoor environments while people were present.

According to Aviet, the results thus far have been “extremely positive,” and the company is already in talks with other colleges regarding further study. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”

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