New beginnings - Manchester's best flexible workspace

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After almost a year based at Ashton Old Baths, a beautiful, incredibly impressive restoration of Ashton’s iconic Victorian swimming baths, I was excited to move into a new office at Spaces in Manchester city centre this month. It’s a move that brings me closer to clients, boosts productivity and will support the continued growth of my client base. 

The city isn’t short of beautifully-designed office space for freelancers and small businesses so the search for the right office was lengthy. Over a period of around six weeks I visited several potential locations and researched countless others. In the hope that the research won’t go to waste now I’ve made my choice, I’ve compiled a list of Manchester’s top flexible office spaces for freelancers, small businesses and start-ups looking for the right environment from which to grow. 

Spaces

Peter House, Oxford St, Manchester, M1 5AN

https://www.spacesworks.com/manchester/peter-house/

Location was a big factor when making my choice - fronting St Peter’s Square, Peter House is at the centre of the city with the Metrolink on its doorstep. Beyond location, Peter House (I’m aware that fans of brutalist architecture feel differently) isn’t much to look at from the outside. However, once you’ve come through the revolving door, it’s a different story. With a multitude of very cool, varied and comfortable communal spaces - plus an amazing café serving healthy, delicious food - it’s a dream for anyone like me who needs variety throughout the day. With a private office for tasks that demand more focus, it was a no-brainer for me - ££

WeWork - One St Peter’s Square

1 St Peter’s Square, Manchester, M2 3DE

https://www.wework.com/en-GB/buildings/one-st-peter-s-square--manchester

I wanted to love WeWork so much that I visited twice in the hope that I’d feel differently on the second visit. The first thing to mention is the location - fronting St Peter’s Square and in a fabulous building, it looks the part, inside and out. Yet the space itself feels a little cramped by WeWork standards, plus the kitchen smells were unpleasant, although it was lunchtime when I visited, so it’s likely that it’s less of an issue at other times of day. The floor two lounge is much quieter and more peaceful than that on floor three. There isn’t a great deal of variety in terms of workspace, but there are plenty of private phone booths for conversations without distractions. Hot-desking, fixed desks and private offices are available, although the latter two options are in short supply - ££

WeWork - No1 Spinningfields

Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3JE

https://www.wework.com/buildings/no-1-spinningfields--manchester

In my personal opinion, the Spinningfields location is the better one in Manchester. There seems to be more variation in terms of spaces throughout the building, while the design in general is more attractive. Both locations host regular networking events, but they’re more frequent in Spinningfields. Hot desking, fixed desks and private offices are available - ££

Work.Life

Core, Brown St, Manchester, M2 1DH

https://work.life/locations/manchester/

Work.Life is one of Manchester’s newest co-working locations. Based on Brown Street, just off Market Street and King Street, it sits at the epicentre of the city, making most central Manchester destinations within walking distance. There are plenty of alternative spaces to work throughout the day, with options for private offices, fixed and hot desks and a wide range of amenities. The location wasn’t right for me, but it’s worth a visit for those looking for beautifully designed workspace at the centre of the city. Hot desking and fixed desks available, along with private offices - £££  

Beehive Lofts, Ancoats

Beehive Mill, Jersey St, Manchester, M4 6JG

https://beehivelofts.co.uk

Beehive Lofts is a very cool space and an established co-working location with a great community. I’m not sure how it compares in terms of events and other amenities, and I know alternatives are perhaps more traditionally professional, but it’s a great location for creatives looking for relaxed, laid back workspace in Ancoats - £££ 

Colony, Ancoats

Jactin House, 24 Hood St, Manchester, M4 6WX

http://colonyco.work

I visited Colony a while back and was super impressed with the space - it has a wide variety of different areas to work throughout the day; great for those like me who like to change things up throughout the day. It’s very well designed - so much so that it has been shortlisted for the 2018 Prolific North Inspired Spaces Awards. Colony also boasts a great community and hosts regular events. Offering both fixed and hot desking, Colony will appeal to those looking for proven, high-quality space in Ancoats - £££

Colony 2, Piccadilly Place

Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN

Colony is due to open a second location at Piccadilly Place, Colony 2. Next to Manchester Piccadilly train station, it offers great transport connections, while its design and amenities will no doubt make Colony 2 just as impressive as the first - £££

Headspace 

2 Mount St, Manchester, M2 5WQ

https://www.headspacegroup.co.uk/location/manchester/

Billed as a focal point for Manchester’s creative community, Headspace is a popular location that offers both co-working space and private offices. Its location just off Albert Square is a real plus, again close to the Metrolink stop at St Peter’s Square and within easy walking distance of all city centre destinations. The interior of Headspace isn’t as standout as some of its competitors, but it’s well-designed space that would suit those that favour a more minimal, clean design - ££

Accelerate Places

101 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD

https://www.accelerateplaces.com/locations/manchester/

Accelerate Places is a funky office location on Princess Street - hosting regular events it’s a vibrant location with, from what I’m told, a great community feel. There are a variety of working spaces and it offers both individual desks in a co-working space as well as private ‘team rooms’. It’s one to consider for those who like bright, youthful design features and plenty of natural light. Members are also entitled to a series of perks, such as reduced parking charges at nearby Chorlton Street NCP - ££

Neo, Charlotte Street

Charlotte Street, Manchester, M1 4ET

https://bruntwood.co.uk/our-locations/manchester/neo/

With just twelve desks, the co-working space is on the small side but benefits from lots of natural light and good security, although with lots of foot traffic past the room it does have a ‘fish tank’ feel after a while. There are small private offices situated elsewhere in the building. 

Neo is an award-winning building, with an impressive reception area - I loved the on-screen artworks - and the shared lounge is a great space, beautifully designed. The iPad operated coffee machine is very popular! Meeting rooms are in short supply, although the pods outside can be hired and make for a unique experience. Discounted parking at Chorlton Street NCP is also a perk - £££

Central Working

231-233 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EN

http://centralworking.com/locations/manchester

Located inside the same Grade II listed building as Grindsmiths, Central Working is a dream for coffee lovers. It’ll be popular with those who favour a modern aesthetic inside a heritage building, with plenty of flexible workspace. Both co-working and private offices are available - £££

All Work & Social

XYZ, 2 Hardman Blvd, Manchester, M3 3AQ

https://allworkandsocial.com

Within Allied London’s XYZ building, this is a location that will appeal to those who spend a lot of time in this part of the city. An incredibly impressive space in design terms, it won’t fail to impress. Hot desks, fixed offices and private offices are all available, with all-singing, all-dancing amenities and services on offer. Although it has event space, gatherings hosted here seem to be infrequent. For freelancers and businesses alike, this is a location that won’t fail to impress - £££

The Assembly

Virginia House, 5-7 Great Ancoats St, Manchester, M4 5AD

https://assemblymcr.com

The Assembly provides space that won’t break the bank and benefits from a good spot close to Ancoats and Manchester’s Northern Quarter. With a pared back design, The Assembly provides both co-working space and private offices, but lacks the varied space on offer at some of the alternative locations in Manchester - ££