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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Tom Houghton

Department to open four new workspaces for businesses in Manchester as 'new era' begins

A firm offering work, social and wellness facilities under one roof is to open four new sites in Manchester - as it "introduces the new era of the workplace".

Department is to open four operations in the city, as well as more in Leeds and London, with launches taking place this year, next year and in 2022.

The concept by Manchester firm All Work and Social claims to give the "complete workspace offering and ultimate flexibility", letting businesses work, scale and grow.

It will offer services to firms employing between one and 200 people. Each site will offer members a varied inventory of wellness and social spaces, developed in collaboration with local business - with gyms, coffee shops, bars, tap houses and a gin distillery all on site.

Michael Ingall, founder of Department, said the idea was not a direct result of Covid-19 - but that the pandemic had influenced the design.

He said: “Our view is that the future is all about the workplace, rather than workspace. Each company will inevitably want something different from their workplace, and we believe in providing the diversity businesses now seek under one roof, at a single destination.

"The workplace means something different depending on the sector a business operates in, and most importantly its people, so varied amenities will fit many variations of business.

“A number of recurrent trends have emerged in each industry, for example, financial services businesses are considering moving teams into flexible space, split between distinct projects. While tech and media businesses report missing agile working and collaboration, with open and quiet spaces helping them to do this.

“​Department is not a direct result of Covid-19, but its design and philosophy has certainly been influenced by the pandemic.

"Over the last two months, we have undertaken significant research into remote working, considering how people are coping, what they have missed, and how they now feel about their workspace. We have used this to inform us as we create the new era of the workspace, and design a confident, safe and secure return to work."

Manchester will be home to four operations.

Department XYZ on Hardman Boulevard and Department Bonded Warehouse on Lower Byrom Street are both set to be fully operational in 2020.

Department ABC on Quay Street and Department Piccadilly will be fully operating in 2021 and 2022.

Department Casino Leeds and Department London will open in 2021.

Mr Ingall added: “Rigid workplaces with rows of desks must now be a ‘no-go’ with much more varied spaces for working in teams, or collaborating one-on-one, combined with much more space to work on individual tasks.

"Flexible office provision with a choice of locations is also a key factor, which in turn will help the working hours spent in the office."

Anthony Powell, managing director, said: “​Our conclusion from the extensive research is that the workplace that was already evolving before COVID, has evolved 10 years in 2 months.

"If we are to successfully persuade people to enthusiastically return to work, and most importantly, if we are to persuade businesses to locate into our buildings, the design and philosophy of the office needs to develop into the complete workplace."

Department will launch with consumer finance Auden in the Bonded Warehouse site, joining Klarna, Levitt Bernstein, Reform Radio, Manchester Camerata and Jist Studios.

Department XYZ members include Rowan Partners, IOD, Hurlingham Polo and Sportsology.

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