Co-working spaces are on the rise in Manchester and for good reason. As the city sees an increase in start-ups and small businesses, these enterprises need a base to call home. A co-working space can provide the buffer between a permanent office and meeting clients in the nearest coffee shop for the growing number of entrepreneurs and freelancers.
SMEs pay a monthly or annual fee for access to desk space and often a phone line, PO box and Wi-Fi. For their membership fee, they get to access the space for a certain number of days per month or for a more regular monthly period.
The Benefits of Co-Working Environments
Without the risk or overheads of long term rental fees, small businesses can have the flexibility to grow at their own pace, with the buffer that they can move out if they need to downscale or their business model changes.
With most co-working spaces being based in an open-plan office, clients also get the benefit of networking with the other startups in the space. Co-working spaces are thus part hot desking and part start-up community.
As co-working becomes ever more popular, larger businesses have been starting to use these spaces as well. Remote working has made it possible for businesses to forgo the need for a permanent base, with workers finding that these new spaces are offering a temporary office environment as and when needed.
The Growth of Co-Working in the UK
The flexible workspace market is expected to account for 10% of office use within the next 10 years, with many of those using them being smaller companies, often with less than 10 employees.
As the gig economy evolves and grows in the UK, so to does the need for contractors, remote workers and virtual offices. What co-working offices do is offer a cheap and flexible alternative to renting office space giving startups a more professional option to working from the kitchen table, something that is important when meeting clients.
When water cooler moments are limited to talking to the postal worker or the neighbour’s cat, remote workers start to see the benefits of the open office space and coffee breaks with other people working in a similar industry. In fact, the networking benefits cannot be underestimated.
A third of British co-working spaces are curating their membership to attract a niche group of businesses and it is easy to see why as freelancers can benefit from working in a shared space that doubles as a form of networking.
The risk of the long-term lease is taken on by the providers of the space itself, leaving small businesses with only the minimum overhead of their desk membership. This means that they can avoid holding client meetings in noisy coffee shops, which can be less than ideal.
Co-workers will often select their space on the basis of relatively subjective criteria. With over half of people who are using co-working spaces identifying as freelancers, the atmosphere of the work space will have an impact on their decision to sign up to the membership.
Users of co-working spaces are often working within the creative industries, startup and tech sectors. Having a place that can foster a creative atmosphere with its layout, interior design and facilities is vital to attracting the right freelancers and entrepreneurs who are looking for nomadic office space.
Co-Working Offices in Manchester
Manchester is known for its ingenuity and ideas. The city is bustling with creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs who are looking for a place to grow alongside like-minded peers. At the moment there are five co-working spaces in central Manchester and another two in the Ancoats/New Islington area.
As the city attracts more talent, the need for co-working space is only set to continue, with
Pollard Yard the latest co-working space to date and will be based in Ancoats. It will provide much-needed work spaces for micro-businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers, made from reconditioned shipping containers. The land surrounding the offices will be available for festivals, markets and local events.
Pollard Yard will be joining two other co-working spaces, each as different as the businesses they attract. Beehive Lofts includes an active, daily social calendar and eschews day passes or hot desking, specifically looking for businesses within the digital and creative industries. The Assembly, meanwhile, offers free meeting room space for its members.
All of the Manchester co-working spaces are helping to develop collaborations between their members and as Manchester’s burgeoning creative industries continue to grow, so too will demand for these co-working spaces.