Having transformed the way people work in London, the coworking revolution is now shifting the landscape of Manchester. The high costs and long contracts for commercial properties have traditionally been off-putting for start-ups, newer businesses and those looking for offices. But Manchester’s recent crop of coworking spaces offer a refreshing amount of flexibility.
One key advantage of using coworking spaces is that providers are forced to be competitive and offer ever better facilities. If people are unhappy with what they offer, they can move elsewhere without being hampered by the usual 5-year lease. Consequently, the bar is set high and this shows in Manchester.
Manchester’s coworking spaces are an eclectic bunch, including Grade II listed buildings, warehouse conversions, a renovated electronics factory and a pay by the minute coffee shop. They cater for the needs of almost any industry, from science to video game production. However specific your requirements for a coworking space are, you can be sure to find somewhere to fulfill them in Manchester. In addition, they offer attractive environments and positive atmospheres.
Here are some of the most interesting, innovative, and downright cool coworking spaces Manchester has to offer.
Where? 101 Princess Street, Manchester
What? This coworking space from Accelerate Places provides office space in a Grade-II listed building within the center of Manchester. The building might be beautiful, but Accelerate Places believe it takes more than a good location to create the best coworking space. At 101 Princess Street, you will also find a thriving community and positive atmosphere, ideal for making connections. For over 18 years, they have been providing businesses with the necessary tools for rapid growth, including access to mentorships and professional services.
What makes it cool? On site the dedicated team offers unrivaled services to take your work to the next level. These include advisory board sessions with the UK’s leading venture building, access to in-house services (such as advisory on the legal and financial side of things), access to a network of investors, and regular events. Combined with a private cafe, high-speed internet and printing, this coworking space will take care of all your needs and let you focus on what really matters: innovation, creativity, and collaboration.
Where? Near Victoria Street, Manchester
What? BuyGiveWork is a coworking space like no other. With many non-profit organisations inhabiting the space, the focus is on community, knowledge sharing and affordability.
What makes it cool? This is a space with soul – mixing non-profits and for-profits, experimental startups and more traditional businesses. Add to that an edible urban garden and one of the sweetest views around you have yourself a cool office with a heart.
Where? Beehive Mill, Jersey Street, M46 JG, Manchester
What? Beehive Lofts is just what the name suggests – a hive of exciting activity. This Manchester coworking space welcomes both individuals and companies, for short and long term memberships.
What makes it cool? 24 hours a day, 7 days a week you can access the coworking space, meaning it is suitable for those with flexible schedules. Whether you are working all hours to finish a project or happen to be an early or late riser, Beehive Lofts offers the space whenever you need it. The focus on the happiness and well-being of members is what really makes this coworking space unique. Collaboration and communication between people from all industries are encouraged, and the facilities (including pool tables, a cinema screen, hammocks, and a library) create a relaxed vibe. Even so, you will be sure to get plenty of work done in the professional environment with spacious desks, free meeting rooms, and fast internet.
Where? Edge Street, M4 1HW, Manchester
What? Ziferblat is a coworking space unlike any other, designed to feel like an extension of your home. The building includes a sitting room, private meeting rooms, and regular events.
What makes it cool? What makes it different is the payment model. Everything is free – the coffee, cake, internet etc – and you pay for the time at 8p a minute. Should you want to spend a full day in this coworking space, the cost is capped at 4 hours. A monthly contract is available if you decide to use Ziferblat regularly. The building is also child and dog-friendly which many people find helpful. When you need a break, the cost includes newspapers, board games, musical instruments, 43 kinds of tea and the ubiquitous Ziferblend coffee. Simultaneously paying for your coworking space and your meals is an easy way to cut costs when you need to. This makes it ideal for early stage start-ups and freelancers.
Where? 113 Portland Street, Manchester
What? A creative coworking space in a Grade II listed warehouse conversion, located the ‘West Village’ of Manchester.
What makes it cool? Move in here and you’re joining a community of creative individuals and businesses. Enjoy contemporary design features, exposed brickwork and gorgeous ironmongery.
Where? Old Granada Studios, M3 3GS, Manchester
What? This Manchester coworking space is situated in the media building which has produced classics such as Countdown, The Jeremy Kyle Show and Coronation Street. The building now offers desks to a diverse clientele, along with meeting rooms, music studios and the unsurprisingly popular free pizza and beer on Fridays.
What makes it cool? OGS Works is in an ideal location for early stage start ups- adjacent to Manchester’s finance and business districts. As a result, it has become an unofficial incubator of sorts as companies initially use the coworking space, before moving into the offices opposite once funding is sufficient. This is helped along by the OGS partners, including Manchester Entrepreneurs, Business Growth Hub, Spinningfields, Sale Sharks, and Smart Alex.
Where? Thorp Road, M40 5BJ, Manchester
What? The Sharp Project is a 200,000 sq ft refurbished warehouse, now offering coworking spaces east of Manchester city centre. In the words of its creators, The Sharp Project is all about a ‘creating a culture of self-motivation, drive, and energy, an ethos of creativity and invention, and a core philosophy of getting things done, even if that means doing things a bit differently…..’
What makes it cool? It is specifically geared towards digital entrepreneurs and content producers whose work requires a little more than a desk and a laptop. This vibrant space offers (in addition to coworking offices), production rooms for film and TV including green screens, make-up rooms, and storage space. Unlike the other coworking spaces listed here, it is designed specifically for those who work in the media.
Where? Churchgate House, Oxford Street, M1 6EU, Manchester
What? Workplace is one of Manchester’s cheaper options, offering coworking spaces from just £11 per day. This includes free hot drinks, access to a business lounge, regular workshops and networking events. The newly refurbished facilities include storage space for your possessions, a kitchenette and any legal services you might require.
What makes it cool? Workplace coworking is designed to make its members as productive as possible, away from the distractions which come from working at home or in a cafe. The professional, attractive look of the place makes it ideal for meeting clients. Members describe the environment as warm, friendly, and relaxed.
Where? Edge Street, M4 1HN, Manchester
What? Manchester Digital Laboratory (otherwise known as MadLab) is a grassroots non-profit organisation which focuses on innovation in the areas of arts, culture, science, and technology. A coworking space is available within the building where a full-time desk can be booked for an introductory rate of just £175 per month. They describe it as a ‘safe space for investigating, seeding, and testing new creative and social enterprises.’ The facilities include an events and social space, access to creative development programs and workshops as well as all the basics – high-speed internet, free hot drinks, printer, and photocopiers. Membership to the Manchester coworking space also includes discounts for room hire and in-house workshops.
What makes it cool? An impressive feature is the nano hackerspace and community library with tools and materials for making prototypes. These enable you to turn 2D and 3D digital designs into physical objects in various forms. There is also an electronics bench and biotechnology lab. For those in scientific and technological industries, having these facilities on the same site as your office can be a game changer.
Madlab coworking is particularly interesting because of the collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas encouraged by the diverse clientele- including designers, artists, technologists, and entrepreneurs. We all know that having new ideas requires plenty of inspiration, and this is an excellent environment to find it.