Still Working From Home? Why you should consider co-working


Are you one of the thousands of office-based employees (if not more) who haven’t returned to the office after being given the green light to do so,  because your company likes the savings on office rents? 

Are you still working from the spare bedroom/conservatory/dining room and hating it? 

Are you missing the banter and camaraderie of working with a team? 

Yep, me too. 

Im my career history, even as a freelancer, I was lucky enough to consistently work for companies at their premises and loved being “part of the team” etc. I’ve worked in some pretty amazing places – a converted Victorian school-house that housed the most beautiful suspended mezzanine floor; another converted school house (seeing a theme here?) that housed a few audio recording suites and an umbrella of audio and visual media companies with a stupendous solid oak circular staircase. 

Over the years of being freelance, it’s been a total joy to zoom off in my car of a morning to end up either in Manchester city centre, or a suburb of Manchester, fire up my laptop and work on whatever project the client, on whose premies I was kindly being housed, wanted me to work on.

 And each and every time, I was made to feel very welcome and integrated into the team.  

And, I loved it.  

Fast forward to 23.03.20 and we all know what happened then. The first lockdown in the UK – if you’ve got a short memory! So my lovely days spent “co-working” with my client’s teams went totally by the wayside and, from my viewpoint, there is still a huge proportion of companies that haven’t gone back to the office. 

So where are they all? Stuffed into those parts of their home that I listed above. And, if you’re anything like me, you probably hate missing out on the feeling of collaboration and the banter that goes on when you’re all working in the same space. 

I hated the working from home alone syndrome so much so that one the days when I didn’t have any paid client work and I worked on building my business (which is never done) I secured myself a place in a number of co-working spaces, mainly in Manchester city centre. And why not…

I loved the days when I could rock up in Manchester, plan my working day and organise to see fab people in that equally fab city.  

I loved having a co-working space so much that I’ve had a total of 3 co-working spaces in Manchester. All pre-pandemic, of course. 

The first was a kind “leg up” from who let me have a desk in their sumptuous offices in a converted cotton mill in the up and coming Ancoats district of the Manchester City centre. This was kindly offered by an established Manchester digital agency. Living as I do in rural Cheshire, I was totally out of circulation in the city to be able to make contacts in the very established business network in the city centre.  

For my second co-working space,  I found a home at Federation, which was a converted warehouse run as a social enterprise by the Co-operative organisation, who has it’s HQ in Manchester. It was such a cool space – they totally renovated a Victorian warehouse building into a building fitting to be located in the uber-trendy “Northern Quarter”. Carpets were removed to expose original wooden floors; brickwork was exposed and there were cool Manchester centric murals everywhere, covering things such as the famous Tony Wilson quote

“This is Manchester.  We do things differently here.”

Unfortunately my time there was limited, as due to financial over-reaching the project had to close. 

So, finding myself “homeless” – at least in a co-working sense of the word – I found a very upmarket space in WorkLife close to the business district of the city centre. Talk about life going full circle – this was based at the very office building where I had worked at the start of my career many years earlier. And, I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable jobs I’d had in my career. 

So going back there was a whole touch of nostalgia. But, the building had been hacked around and was not the same layout I remember slepping around (in heels, I should think) back in 1989. 

The pull of WorkLife was that it was pay as you go and turned out to be very cost effective. But then the pandemic hit, and although WorkLife remained open – it realised that not all it’s members could work from home – I only went back a handful of times even though the regulations meant I could do so. 

So, back working from home in Cheshire still with my dislike of working alone, I considered what my options could be.  

And slowly I realised that I might not be the only one in my home village of Holmes Chapel  who hated working alone. And the pandemic had played right into my hands – surely there were more people now working from home than ever? 

I tentatively put a post out on the biggest Facebook group we have in the village and was inundated. Not by potential members, but by the local food & drink outlets who wanted to host the group sessions. Obviously, offering their spaces meant that they received a steady daytime trade, which is difficult to attract at the best of times. 

Fast forward a good few months interrupted by a series of “Work From Home” directives, and I’m very gradually establishing a co-working group based in Holmes Chapel. 

 It’s held at the very hip Bottle Bank, at 24 London Road in Holmes Chapel each Tuesday from 12.00noon and Fridays from 10.00am. As this is a bar, you are welcome to stay as long as you like and you can purchase damn fine coffee/tea or something stronger if you prefer – no judgement here.  

You are also welcome to bring in food as the space only sells bar snacks such as crisps etc.  

So, and I make no apologies for the direct pitch, if you are within commuting distance of Holmes Chapel – it would be great to see you. 

Because of the worsening financial situation, all costs have been witheld for a period of 6 months so people can weather the storm and not miss out on the chance to form a supportive working group. 

You may have guessed I’m a fervant devotee of co-working spaces, as I believe by working alone, it’s very easy to lose focus, traction and even creativity.  I’m one of those who thrives on sharing ideas and being part of a team, even as a freelancer, to achieve a common goal. To me, it’s life-affirming.

But, if you’re one of those who is perfectly happy working from home, then I stand in admiration of you but suggest you give the odd session at a co-working place a try and see how it fits.

You might be surprised 😉