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Workplace the story Year 1!

Author since:
October, 2015
102 blog posts

It is only a year since Workplace opened its doors for the first time. 

 What a year it has been.   

And it seems as good a time as any to look back at the story of Workplace, and remember where and why it all began.  

 The business was developed over a glass or two of wine in the Malmaison Manchester by Adrian Stevenson, Louise Pollard and Jane Schofield.  They had all previously worked together on a number of hotel projects and were at a point in their careers where they wanted to do something new, something that was totally theirs, that meant working for themselves. 

 It was in the course of looking for office space for their own project that they became surprised at how little high end small office stock there was in Manchester.  Finding something that had the same feel and service they had experienced on the business floors of the hotels they had developed was a lot harder than they expected. 

Deciding to go ahead with the plan for Workplace was, in some ways, the easy bit. Meetings with three companies they had worked with before, and trusted, in Manchester: SpaceInvader Designs, Dragonfly Contracts and digital marketing agency, Cube3 gave them the belief and kickstart they needed. All three businesses had been part of previous projects and the team respected their judgement.  And all three businesses gave them the thumbs up. With that response, and the knowledge that these companies would work with them to get Workplace from an idea to a profitable business, their work began. 

Adrian, Louise and Jane self-funded Workplace, as they believed the best way to make sure they had the opportunity to develop the product was to try and build it debt-free, with the responsibility on nobody but themselves to make Workplace profitable. 

A year in and they have proved that the concept is something Manchester is eager for, and that tapping in to a shared economy with the service of a hotel in an office space is something that works commercially too. 

 So, what are the thoughts of the founders after one year? 

 Jane Schofield: 

“Hard, hard work and a huge amount of responsibility” are the first words that spring to Jane’s mind. 

 She says it is important to never underestimate the amount of work that goes in to launching a new brand and a new concept. For a start-up, when money is tight and there is just three people to do every job, it can be gruelling.   

 “In the first months we were doing everything from sales and marketing, accounting and making the coffee right down to cleaning the toilets. It was the only way we could ensure we kept our costs down, which meant it was such a relief when we found ourselves in a position to employ people to help us with some of the important operational work. This finally gave us space to focus on growing our membership. Having said all of this, the three of us have had such a great time. Three sets of very different skills and personalities pulling together and getting the job done have made Workplace what it is. And I think having the three of us work together has been the most significant contributor to our success, as one of us could always solve any issue that came up.  It has been this relationship, and the relationships we have built with the people we have met, that has been the best thing about Workplace. It has been our team and our great members who have given the business its heart”. 

 Adrian Stevenson: 

 “Where has the year gone? When I reflect on our achievements I still puzzle about how we got where we are today.  

Beginning a business with my longstanding friends was an exciting concept I truly believed in from the start. Having years’ experience in the service industry I felt primed to invest myself into a new venture, one which would be exciting, thought-provoking and stimulating.   I have always enjoyed making spontaneous business decisions, especially when faced with challenges that require an immediate response and achieved one of my closest ambitions in business; working alongside individuals who I like and respect. Customers have become friends and business partners are best-friends, perfect! 

My goal for the year ahead is about embracing our success and turning that into continued business growth; developing our employees and welcoming new members to be a part of our exciting journey.”€¯€¯€¯ 

 Louise Pollard: 

 “With any new business, I guess you are always nervous that you are doing the right thing. With Workplace, as we were developing an entirely new concept, there was a further degree of trepidation: would everyone else would ‘get it’? For me, the launch party was the confirmation we needed that we ‘could be on to something here’ but the sense of pride at what we’d built was soon replaced with the realisation that now the real work begins. We had to fill the place!  

 This year has had some very big highs and very big lows. It’s been hard work and there have definitely been tears as well as laughs. We’re ahead of where we expected to be, but a long way off where we want it to be. But at least we are heading in the right direction.  

For me, I can’t explain the sense of pride I feel when I walk in and see the place buzzing and the space working as we’d hoped it would do. Coworking is organic, you must put all the elements in place and nurture it, you can’t sit back and just expect it to happen. 

 I can’t wait for the next chapter!” 

Right now, the whole team is proud to label Workplace a success in its first year. But everyone recognises that is because of the people who have made it what it is: the members and the community they are forming together.   

 Here’s to the growth and progression of the brand into the future. Who knows where that will lead€¦





Up Next

How coworking can help your wellbeing.

Author since:
October, 2015
102 blog posts

This week, we’ve been talking about how our modern way of working and living can cause issues with mental health that many of us don’t even know exist, yet alone admit how it impacts us.

It’s well documented that we need 3 simple things to keep our minds healthy:

  1. safe sun every day
  2. to exercise and get a sweat on
  3. to be with people regularly

Unfortunately, life in 2016 doesn’t make this easy.  We don’t spend enough time in the day light because we work in doors or have further to travel to get to school, the doctors and work, and that means we have less spare time to exercise.  We also spend a lot of time communicating with a screen rather than a person. The 3 simple things suddenly don’t seem so simple

Working out what works for wellbeing

Recent trends tell us that more and more people are starting up in business or remote working and that millennials are increasingly looking for jobs where they don’t work the traditional 9-5 for 48 weeks a year. But is this necessarily good for our wellbeing? Although this lifestyle gives more flexibility and freedom, it can also make life more isolating.

In our discussion, we all talked about times when we had been sad, unhappy, lonely or isolated but none of us wanted to say this was a €œmental health” issue, we try to avoid this as the word “mental” seems to have such a stigma. However, all of these feelings do affect our mental wellbeing and can end with serious problems if they are not cared for and treated.  Our discussions led us all to say that we need to take much better care of our minds, as well as our bodies.

 Your environment and wellbeing

People talk lots about coworking, and how the sense of community can improve wellbeing, but we think it’s more than coworking, the environment too can benefit your mental health. Workplace offers a venue for a number of different workers to get together and form a community while they are working.  This helps to form relationships that are supportive and nurturing.  Over the first year that Workplace has been in existence it has become a real community; we have seen people join together in our yoga classes, chat about the ups and downs of business around the coffee machine, and share experiences, both business and personal.

What our members say

Gemma Donnelly is an office member at Workplace and a Legal and Technical Advisor for CPW.  She works from Workplace with four other colleagues.  She is also our appointed Yoga Champion (although I am not sure she knows it!), encouraging members to join in with our weekly member’s yoga session.

Gemma tells us what she thinks are the benefits of working in a coworking space like Workplace€¦.

To myself and my colleagues, Workplace is more a lifestyle choice than a shared working space. Working for a national company, my role involves travelling between various regions. Extending our office portfolio to Manchester, where I live, has allowed me to be based closer to home. Whilst this is an undeniable benefit, the main attraction of Workplace is the environment itself. Its clever design has passionately created different work spaces which ooze personality, a far cry from the bland boxes offices once were. Beyond CPW’s secluded office, as a member I also have the option of working within the open plan shared office space, as well as the quieter areas, when I need to focus on complex or confidential matters. The forward thinking mind-set of its founders has effectively created a space conducive to enhanced productivity and work-life balance. Aside from it being a pleasure to work in, the opportunity to interact with other members, of various professionalisms, has expanded by professional and personal social circles, to those I would not typically have the opportunity to engage in. The social, interactive, effective work space that Workplace provides makes it a wonderful place to work in and I would highly recommend it to any business or individual, if only just for the unlimited supply of coffee, sweets and biscuits that are on offer!


Jennie Liscombe is a Marketing Manager for Across the Pond, an international student recruitment company based in America.  She moved to Manchester a year ago and worked at a few coworking venues in Manchester until she settled in at Workplace.

Jennie tells us what made her decide on Workplace and why she likes basing herself from one of the Hot Desks as often as she can€¦.

Working remotely allows you great opportunities but it can be incredibly isolating, especially when you are new to a city like I was. Searching for a co-work space takes time and you have to find your perfect fit. Work Place offers a professional and stylish hot desking environment which is the ideal base for me and any meetings I may have to have visiting colleagues or agencies. Mixing with people in similar circumstances to you helps motivate you and focus plus the chance to network with individuals from all different industries and take part in workshops, yoga classes and even bake offs offers you all the best qualities of an €˜office’ in addition to the freedom remote working offers.

 If you are interested in the subject, it’s well worth following Sir Cary Cooper, the America-born psychologist and professor of Organization Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School on Twitter (@profcarycooper). He recently tweeted about the increase of flexible working and its benefits on wellbeing and has also developed the 6 essentials of work place wellbeing.

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