Have you ever noticed how the other side of the platform is always that bit quieter? We'd like to introduce you to the reverse commute - a solution for escaping the morning rush without completely 'escaping to the country'.

Imagine this: hundreds of people, crammed on to a busy train in rush hour. Desperate to make it home, you wedge yourself into the already overflowing carriage of sweaty, frustrated people, only to find your nose pushed into a random person’s armpit. Frantically, you pull yourself up, but each time the train brakes into the next overflowing station, you collide into the person next to you, cursing to yourself “why is it always me who ends up next to the person with a terrible cough / who smells of last night’s whisky / forgot deodorant?” Unfortunately for many Londoners, you don’t need to imagine anything. This is a standard weekday occurrence, and yet still we continue to do it – surely there has to be another way?

It’s not just overcrowding that’s the problem. Londoners have to endure travel disruption on an increasingly regular basis as tube and rail strikes hold the city to ransom. After the last spate of strikes, which caused chaos for millions, we have to ask if it's time to quit London for good?

What is interesting is that out-of-town workplaces, which may have historically found it hard to recruit top talent, are realising that their non-central London location could actually be a drawcard. But the location will only get you so far. To give the reverse commute real appeal, you have to be heading to a ‘destination workplace’, where your office turns into more than your 9 to 5 workstation. It’s somewhere that’s designed uniquely around the needs of staff through providing a workplace with a stimulating environment and encourages people to feel inspired and perform at their best.

So, is the reverse commute the answer to all of our morning nightmares? We look at our top five destination workplaces outside of central London and see what these offices have to offer.

Superdrug »

Location: Croydon

The reverse commute: Train to East Croydon from Victoria (16 minutes) then a 10 minute walk to the office.

The location: With a growing cultural scene, great street food and a new Westfield shopping centre set to open at the end of the decade, Croydon is certainly on the up¹. The office is also super close to the new Croydon Boxpark!

The office design: Whilst most of us are familiar with the bright, playful Superdrug retail shops on our high street, what is less familiar is their stunning new head office in Croydon, south London. As you might expect from a leading health and beauty retailer, wellbeing is high on the agenda at Superdrug. The space has been designed with people in mind, offering them a choice of working areas, including collaboration zones, a café, contemplation spaces and hot desks. Even more impressive is their commitment to giving employees the same ‘Superdrug feeling’ that they promise their customers. This includes providing a wellness centre, a nail and brow bar and even a ping pong table.

Nuffield Health »

Location: Epsom

The reverse commute: 33 minutes from Vauxhall and just a few minutes stroll to the office.

The location: Chocolate-box market town in Surrey with independent retailers and some high street brands – giving you a feeling you’re further away from the big smoke than you really are.

The office design: When you enter the unassuming 1980s office building of Nuffield Health, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a regular workplace. But as soon as you pass through the communal hall and into Nuffield’s own space you know you are somewhere special. With no formal reception desk, the relaxed concierge gives a friendly welcome before showing you to their stunning juice bar. The area looks more like a dream home kitchen than a corporate reception, reflecting the business’ emphasis on health, wellbeing and ultimately their people. The domestic furnishings and décor are reflected throughout and with an onsite gym, a restaurant serving healthy meals and a variety of different workspaces, you know you’re going to be well taken care of at Nuffield Health.

Rackspace »

Location: Hayes

The reverse commute: Overground train to Hayes & Harlington from Paddington (15mins) or Ealing Broadway (7mins), then just a seven-minute walk from there.

The location: Famed as the home of EMI and just fifteen minutes from Paddington, you’re still within touching distance to all the great things London has to offer.

The office design: They say technology companies lead the way with office design and if Rackspace is anything to go by, we’re inclined to agree! The US firm, known to be the ‘home of cloud computing’ has designed their UK offices to mirror a great, British home. With indoor garden areas complete with swing chairs and patio furniture, a library with a dark mahogany dining table and chairs and even a Mini Cooper in the ‘basement garage’, you know you’d feel at home working in this cool destination workplace. Even meetings here are fun – why not catch up with colleagues in the 1970s inspired lounge areas, huddled around the fireplace, or have a more formal meeting at 10 Downing Street?

Lindt and Sprugli »

Location: Feltham

The reverse commute: Piccadilly line to Hatton Cross, then either jump on a bus or it's about a half an hour to walk.

The location: Maximise your weekend by hopping on a plane for a long weekend in Europe from nearby Heathrow.

The office design: For fans of Roald Dahl or those with a sweet tooth, the prospect of working in a chocolate factory may be just enough to swing it. Lindt and Sprungli’s amazing new workplace offers so much more than just great chocolate! These people-focused chocolatiers offer a destination workplace with an emphasis on collaboration that puts their people first. There are breakout areas, themed meeting spaces and dynamic workspaces that support activity-based working. Now, all we need to do is find that golden ticket!

MotoNovo »

Location: Cardiff

The reverse commute: Two hours from Paddington or an hour from Bristol.

The location: Frequently heralded as one of the best cities in the UK, Cardiff is small, friendly and a lot cheaper than London. MotoNovo’s offices are just a stone’s throw from the train station².

The office design: This fast-paced finance business is going from strength to strength; with strong growth, and rated as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. Their rapid expansion has resulted in them recently moving office to a stunning new workplace with views over the River Taff. As a business that values reward and recognition, one of their staff perks is an incredible break out area with a pool table, two racing car simulators, a bar and a cafeteria. No wonder the Motonovian’s have dubbed this area “One Central Perk”! They are also incredibly proud of their brand and Welsh heritage so naturally, there’s an 8 foot mural of nearby Cardiff Castle inside. While Cardiff isn’t exactly a short commute from London, credentials like these may just entice us away from the capital…