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Workplace’s complete guide to coworking

Author since:
October, 2015
99 blog posts

According to Huffington post, 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors, and solopreneurs by 2020.

Coworking spaces, now found in most major cities in the UK, are usually comfortable, cafe-like collaboration spaces. While they are occasionally more formal, office-like settings or even a person’s home or loft, the principal concept is that individual workers from different business backgrounds come together in a shared working place to enjoy enhanced productivity and a sense of community.

In our complete guide to coworking, you’ll find out:

    1. The benefits of coworking
    2. The difference between coworking and hot desking
    3. The common misconceptions of coworking
    4. How to choose your coworking space
    5. Who you can expect to meet while coworking
    6. What types of coworking spaces there are
    7. Is proworking, ‘coworking for grownups’?
    8. Can professional coworking still make you more creative?
    9. Are we heading for a loneliness epidemic
    10. Help! I want a luxury coworking space


Head to the relevant section to find out more!

“Instead of working remotely in separate offices or places, independent professionals, telecommuters, and others who have the ability to work from anywhere share one working environment. This can be on an occasional basis or for regular full-time work hours, depending on your preferences.”

Lifewire — What is coworking?

1. The benefits of coworking

A coworking space, like Workplace in Manchester, is a location you can visit daily, sit down at a desk, and remote work among like-minded people in a structured atmosphere.

What’s more, it’s reported that 60% of people working in shared spaces felt more relaxed since starting to co-work and 70% reported they felt healthier working in shared space.

  • Keeping work separate from time at home gives you the ability to keep structure in your life, and provides a reason to get out of the house.
  • According a study by Office Vibe, coworking made 64% of entrepreneurs more productive, 68% more focused, and 90% more confident.
  • Coworking puts you near likeminded people who might have very different skill sets or can help you approach problems from a different angle

From simply getting some exercise, by commuting on the tram to work, to the social aspects of how interacting with another person and being able to look them in the eyes rather than talk just on the phone made them feel healthier and more positive.

The bottom line? Join a well-considered, positive shared workspace and you will not only improve your productivity but your well-being in the process.

Read our blog, the hidden health benefits of shared workspaces, to find out more.

2. The difference between coworking and hot desking

If you’ve recently started your own business, or thinking of taking the plunge, the differences in coworking options may be confusing.

Are you considering where to base yourself as a first step towards achieving your new business goals? Maybe you have come across hot desking or coworking spaces as possible options.

What is hot desking?

In a business environment, hot desking is practice of companies choosing not to allocate permanent desks to employees, but allowing them to use available workstations as required for the time that they are in the office.

Some companies report significant cost savings, whilst increasing their employees’ opportunities to integrate and develop broader company-wide relationships.

What is coworking?

Usually involving people working in the same place, but not for the same company, coworking is about sharing space, resources and facilities.

Coworking has become a movement in its own right and there is a growing passion for it. A coworking space provides the flexibility to enable independent professionals to work whereever, whenever and however they want.

What about Workplace?
As an executive-style space, Workplace Manchester has been meticulously designed to provide the high-tech professionalism of a well-run office with the luxury of being able to grab a coffee and raid the biscuit tin whenever you need a break.

Read more in our blog about hot desking and coworking, and find out what’s behind the names.

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3. The common misconceptions of coworking

There is a good chance that coworking offers more than you think. There are still some common misconceptions around coworking, we’re here to dispel the myths.

Is coworking only for millennials?
No! According to a survey carried out by Deskmag, the average age of a member in a coworking space is 36. If you are over 40 and concerned that you’ll stand out, don’t be. You will fit right in.

Do you get any privacy in a coworking space?
Definitely. Whilst it’s true that coworking creates a good vibe and an inspiring atmosphere, this is however only part of the story. In reality, the members of a coworking spaces are there to work. Most coworking spaces look after the needs of their members, ensuring they have designated quiet zones, skype booths, and meeting rooms.

Are coworking spaces full of hipsters?
Not exactly. Many coworking space have aimed themselves very much at the tech and creative market but the landscape has changed considerably over the last few years. At Workplace, where there’s more focus on diversity and accessibility, there is always a member on hand to help with a legal, IT, creative or accounts issue.

Ultimately, coworking spaces provide so much more than a ‘hot desk’. It is about having the choice of how to work.

Coworking is about freedom, freedom to work in the way that engages you the most.

Read more common misconceptions in our blog, coworking misconceptions explained.

4. How to choose your coworking space

Your coworking space should be motivating. Being there should be enjoyable, easy and ensure that you can be as productive as possible.

Your coworking space should be motivating.

How do you know what you need? How much space, what location, how much should you spend, what can you expect, what are the costs, what is included, which one is best? The list goes on.

Consider the following:

Location covers being able to park easily, kudos for your business, being accessible to public transport, is it easy for customers to get to? You must decide what the priority is for you and your business.

We all like a bit of TLC and attention some of the time. Consider how the is space managed and whether they care about you as an individual.

Do you want to get more work done, mix with like-minded people or do you require a tranquil space to get your head down? Do you need somewhere with a great vibe, or somewhere that you can upscale from coworking to a dedicated desk and then to private office?

Looking carefully at any extra charges; you don’t want to commit to a venue only to find out that you must pay for every cup of coffee, or printing is very expensive, or that you use too much bandwidth for WiFi.

WiFi speed
Check how robust the wireless internet in your shared workspace is. If you can’t work without a strong and secure connection, your work will be constantly interrupted.

The cheapest option might seem like the best, but always check how long you might be tied in for, and if you have any flexibility if the place is not for you. There are other coworking options that offer month-by-month payment plans.

Open hours
Some coworking spaces are open 24 hours, some are 8am – 6pm, some are 7 days per week. Make sure that the hours you need access are covered by the hours you’ll have access to the shared workspace that you choose.

Find out more about choosing your coworking space in Manchester

5. Who can you expect to meet while coworking?


It’s important to choose a coworking space that attracts a diverse range of professionals, business types, personalities, skills and ages. This will give you access to knowledge and experience you might need to grow your own business.

But, what characters might you meet while coworking?

  1. The healthy coworker
    These are great people to have around as they are not judgemental but are always looking for buddies to go along with them to whatever class they are doing.
  2. The social media guru
    A self-taught social media addict is always happy to share a skill or two, but even just following their social media feeds will give you a hint of what to do next.
  3. The introducer and integrator
    These people get to know everyone, and ask the most questions. They are the ones that are all inclusive and create events for others to join. They are not normally in it for self promotion, but are naturally good hosts.
  4. The well-connected networker
    This is the member who is always having coffee with someone or hitting an event. These people always want to give help, so making sure they know what you do is a huge advantage.
  5. The fun colleague
    Being happy is all about enjoying yourself and the occasional laugh. This is the person who always manages to lift everyone’s spirits and looks on the lighter side of life.
  6. The aspirational worker
    This is the person who is working hard, motivated and dedicated to their cause. This person drives you to work harder and do better.

Read more about the people you’re likely to meet while coworking in our blog.

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6. What types of coworking spaces there are

Most cities have a range of work spaces available to get you out the house and socialising with like-minded people.

Coffee shops
Cafes like Starbucks or Cafe Nero offering high-speed WiFi. This is where the remote working trend first took off.

Pros of working in a coffee shop

  • Free
  • There is coffee and cake available
  • Often provides central meeting point
  • Free WiFi
  • Lots of choice

Cons of coffee shops

  • Buying coffee can get expensive
  • Can be noisy
  • Fear of your space being taken
  • There are few business connections to network with


Pay as you go workspaces
Community-based venues, cafes or restaurants geared towards remote working and networking that let you drop in and out, and pay as you go.


  • Can be quite economical
  • Many include food and drink
  • They host events
  • You could host your own event
  • An eclectic mix of people


  • Often not as professional
  • Can be noisy
  • Often feature more lounge areas

High-end global coworking chains
Large, professionally designed work spaces offering drinks and snacks, games rooms and pool tables catered towards well-funded startups.


  • Hang out with the cool kids
  • There’s a huge member network to tap
  • You can work in other major cities
  • Lots of events to join and network
  • There are often extra activities


  • Large venues over many floors so it’s not always easy to meet people
  • Many are listed on the stock market and so are answerable to shareholders
  • These spaces attract larger businesses who are not always interested in networking
  • You might be surrounded by teenage tech startups
  • Only available on monthly full-time contracts

Independent proworking and coworking
Slightly smaller, chic style coworking spaces like Workplace in Manchester that are more varied in their offering, open to a wider selection of businesses and more flexible in their approach. These spaces offer a well-designed, executive style like that of a high-end, boutique hotel.


  • They include drinks and snacks
  • Very flexible; work for a day, a few days, or all year
  • Sophisticated member events
  • Easier to get to know everyone
  • The people are there to get work done


  • They aren’t always located across multiple cities
  • Smaller network of contacts
  • More sophisticated member events
  • There aren’t usually games and pool tables

Want to know more about the types of coworking spaces available? Read our blog, four types of coworking spaces — the good and bad.

7. Is proworking, ‘coworking for grownups’?

At Workplace, with an attitude of exclusivity and inclusivity in equal measure, we decided that we wanted to be different to other coworking spaces. We wanted to open up a new way of working to attract more professional services as well as creatives and tech start ups.

What exactly is ‘proworking’?

Workplace members are often consultants or from a professional background. They may have worked for other people and have now gone into business for themselves. Some are freelancers and pioneers. They are start-ups but not necessarily straight out of university.

Proworking is not about forced networking, it’s about nurturing organic relationships. We host member’s breakfast events, wine tasting or business seminars. Members enjoy the relationships they create, but do not come to us for a social life; they have friends and family that they want to get back to at the end of a busy day.

Find out more about the definition of proworking, and read why it might work for you in our blog.

8. Can professional coworking still make you more creative?

Coworking spaces are often associated with young startups to boost creativity. And whilst for some coworking places, this might be true, it doesn’t apply to all shared workspaces.

But can more mature entrepreneurs reap the same benefits? According to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, 71 percent of participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space.

Work spaces should offer a mix of space that work for you and your creativity. Sometimes it is head down in a quiet space, sometimes it might be around the kitchen table and on other times it might be as a group chatting in a coworking space. Having varied options for working is how a professional coworking space will improve your creativity.

Find out more about the impact of coworking on creativity in our blog.

9. Are we heading for a loneliness epidemic?

We hear more and more about coworking spaces being a great cure for the loneliness of solo working.  Are we heading for a much bigger issue that this with a loneliness epidemic about to hit the nation.  What exactly is loneliness and is it really a proven risk to health and our society?

If so, exactly what should we be doing to counteract this and stop this epidemic in its path.  It seems the answer is simple -kindness but is this all we need to do?

10. Help! I need a luxury coworking space that is not just for techies.

If in your head coworking spaces are all about table football, snooker tables and free beer and this is not for you, what are your options?  You will find a small amount of coworking spaces specifically designed with discerning professionals who want a productive luxury space to work.


Coworking made easy

Coworking made easy

Secure your space in our inspiring coworking space, right in the heart of Manchester. Once you’re here, we’ll provide little personal touches that will make you feel at home - free illy coffee, tea and biscuits; kick back in the lounge or find a quiet corner to get your head down.

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Up Next

Coworking - Why the world's biggest companies are sharing space.

Author since:
October, 2015
99 blog posts

Why would any large company choose coworking when they have the  time, infrastructure, and money to be able to take on a conventional office lease?

Sharing office space has been the working style for many creatives, freelancers, tech start-ups and entrepreneurs for quite some time. It is a very economical way of having your own office address and the kudos of an established one if you choose.

Less  Cost

In a coworking space there is no need for huge cash deposits, added running costs for communication infrastructure, rates, tea, coffee and all the other expenses that come with a traditional lease. It also takes the risk out of being committed to a long lease when you are not sure how the business will go at this time.
It has been about ten years since the first coworking spaces started to appear and moved many solo workers out of the back bedroom and into established business.

They immediately transformed the entrepreneur skyline and became great incubators for businesses testing the market place. This was especially so for tech companies who were hitting the market in great waves with an idea and a computer.

Many of the largest tech started in this way. Take a look at Instagram, Uber and Timehop and they all started in coworking spots around the world. Coworking has never quite outgrown its association with young creatives, tech start-ups and entrepreneurs – until now.

It seems to be a growing trend that instead of moving out of coworking offices, larger companies are moving back in.

They’re turning their back on conventional offices and choosing creative coworking options instead. And it’s not companies you’d expect to revel in relaxed atmosphere policies at coworking hubs – HSBC, the Bank of England, KPMG, Hiscox Insurance and Microsoft are a few examples that have taken coworking spaces in the past few years. It seems established businesses moving “backwards” into coworking spaces?
Office Developers who were very reticent to do anything but sign up traditional ling leases only 5 years ago are now changing. They have been forced to look at different models because of the sheer volumes involved in coworking.

Temporary solution

There’s a number of reasons why coworking is appealing to large companies. For some, it’s a temporary solution while they sort out other premises, refurb or because they have run out of space. For others, it’s an opportunity to cut back on office spend and invest that money elsewhere. But for most, the community, collaboration, and flexibility benefits of coworking are the main draw.
Coworking offices are a great temporary solution. They give a professional, functional plug-and-work space. They often have immediate access you sign and start working immediately on an easy month-to-month basis.
Shared offices are the cheapest way to rent office space as you don’t need to pay for the design, fit-out, furnishings or for any professional help with negotiations. All ongoing costs tend to be covered in one monthly bill, dramatically reducing accounting time, while shared use of electricity, utilities, housekeeping, a reception team, insurance splits the bills and brings costs right down for everyone.

Productive Atmosphere

Coworking spaces have an atmosphere that can’t be replicated in house. When you walk inside, you can really feel the energy, inspiration, and productivity. There’s a sense that people are there to work on their passion and do what ever they can to make it happen. Think about what it feels like to be in a room with so many enthusiastic people who chose to show up for work, feel valued and wan to contribute. This group of people often not only share space but friendships, ideas, contacts, and countless synergies.
The social structures created by coworking have an invaluable impact on people and performance. There are many studies that show the benefits  on employee productivity and happiness. It is even proven to cure loneliness in some cases as HBR also investigated. Workers feel both individual autonomy and an important part of a wider community, which is shown to be the ideal balance for employees to feel valued.

Working  for recruitment

Coworking is a useful recruitment tool for this reason. If you offer people, and especially millennials, an exciting place to work with the opportunity to meet countless new people, you’ll have the edge over a competitor who has a sterile or traditional conventional office.
Large companies who choose coworking are essentially saying that their people are the most important part of their business. They’re saying they want to make sure you love being at work and  you can enjoy the social aspect of the workplace. There’s no such thing as “Oh no it’s Monday” at many coworking spaces.

The longer coworking exists the more popular it is going to become.  As early adopters grow into larger businesses and remember what it felt like starting up in a coworking space. Their first job or solo venture in the mid-2000s may have been based in a coworking space when the workstyle was taking off for the first time. Now, they’re at big corporations and understand first hand that the conventional style of working isn’t what they or future employees want and need.

Coworking for grown-ups

Coworking spaces have also grown up with them – many are now slick, stylish spaces managed by professional teams with receptionists, IT specialists and more help on hand to take care of your every need.
This means there is no need to add this support staff to your payroll.  Large businesses are feeling the advantages: happy people, great recruits, strong work performances and substantial money savings.
Historically, the clear majority of coworking clients have been start-ups and growth-phase small businesses. There is now a huge rise in the enquiries companies are receiving form international and national corporations who are testing this experience. Our guess it that they will witness great results and that this way of working will become a place where new entrepreneurs are working shoulder to shoulder with larger corporate.   A synergy made in successful business heaven!

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