When the Disruptors Become the Disrupted

| Helen Hallsworth

They came and they threatened to conquer.  Over 250,000 sq ft of space let the last couple of years in Manchester has been to co-working providers, although I suspect they may revert to the more post-Covid friendly ‘serviced office’ term in the coming months.

With new guidelines being put out there by providers over recent days, the disruptors and the world of shared workspace and occupational densities of 1:45 sq ft are facing a worrying few months.  With offices priced per desk but suggested occupancy of only 50% of said desks at any one time, trying to rent out a 3 person office for the price of 6 is going to cause some real headaches.

There will be some ways to overcome this – Bruntwood in particular have taken a lead with passing on immediate locked-down building savings to their customers and taking control of their cleaning and facilities costs.  Options to use other vacant offices if your own is over-capacity and some revised space planning I’m sure are being consider too, but it will remain a challenge.

Perhaps if you’re sat in serviced space with a provider who leases their premises before renting it out to you, it might be a time to consider if this is the best position to be in?  Frailties for some in the sector have been well documented (see “Inside the Administration of Central Working” on Bisnow https://www.bisnow.com/london/news/coworking/10m-of-revenue-but-still-making-a-loss-inside-the-administration-of-central-working-102310 and the scores of articles on WeWork) and now with space which can only be occupied at 50% capacity, moving on and taking plenty more space for similar annual costs surely must now move up the agenda.

With that in mind, there are some great alternative solutions that Canning O’Neill can help with in the world of small offices to rent or short-term managed space.  Put simply, offices which give occupiers more space for a similar amount of money on terms from just 12 months.  Additionally, they’ll often have their own kitchens which will reduce the risk of spreading with other occupiers of the building.

Perfect? No! But what will be as we stumble our way into a new way of working?

Properties such as Parsonage Chambers, Blackfriars, 19-23 King Street, 30 King Street and Bridgeworks are great places to start in the city centre.

Out in Salford Quays, options over at MediaCityUK, Boat Shed, Exchange Quay or City Approach will fit the bill.

And across South Manchester, we have small offices to rent in Altrincham Business Park, M33, Towers in Didsbury, and across the Orbit portfolio.

**If you’re in need of property advice, we’re still here to provide help and advice in ways that are safe for everyone**