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Inside Central Working: Manchester’s co-working space with more than business at its heart


“Central Working, I hope, will be the future of the office,” says James Layfield, founder of the quirky co-working space on Spring Gardens.

Central Working specialise in creating positive, welcoming environments that ensure you build connections and meaningful relationships with other members of the community.

One of the UK’s original co-working spaces, they currently boast 11 venues, including their flagship Manchester space, and have over 3,500 active members.

“This is my fifth business, so I’ve been there. I’ve been in new businesses’ shoes,” says James.

“I went out and looked at leases. You’re going to be tied in for three, four or even five years. I didn’t know how big or small the company was going to be in that time so it just didn’t work for me.

“I looked around and found serviced offices and those places didn’t have a soul. They didn’t feel like somewhere I could be with me and my team.

“The other problem – and the biggest problem really – was that when you’re running your own business, and there’s just you in there, it’s a lonely place to be. Where do you turn to for support and help?

“I wanted to solve that as well. I wanted to create a place that you can come to and get the connections to grow your business, the contacts you need for funding those new employees.”

At Central Working, it’s all about you, your business and your needs. When it comes to people or businesses joining the co-working space, it’s all about how they can help you make the most out of your time, providing you with absolutely everything you need so that you can focus on the important stuff.

“As we’ve gone on this journey with Central Working, it’s become clear that we’ve created some strong values around a few important things to us that lead everything we do.

“The first one is about community – re-engineering community. Everyone in this space talks about community but we’re talking about it as a fundamental belief.

“We wanted to create a place you could come to where it wasn’t just through serendipity that you met the right connections but through creating something really special. So our team – and more importantly the other members – are there to support you, despite the fact that you aren’t necessarily giving them any cash. They’re there because they care.

“People walk around these days, looking at their phones on instant messenger using things like Facebook. While they’re good tools, we don’t believe that’s where the magic happens.”

Going the extra mile for their business customers, Central Working has a calm and relaxing vibe with an industrial feel. The private offices can accommodate groups from four up to 50 people, while the breakout spaces and meeting rooms mean all of your office needs are easily met.

“The magic happens in a room with people face to face and that creates our third value, which is magical moments, with love, care and attention.

“Love isn’t a word you hear often in business. You’re spending more time with us that you do with your own family so isn’t it important that you feel something when you come into you space each day?

“And when you come into Central Working, I promise you, you will feel that. And you will see from my team and from the other members.

But don’t just take James’ word for it. We spoke to some of the people who work out of Central Working to find out what they think of the co-working space.

Matt Fox-Rees, director of Connections Recruitment, says: “The USP of Central Working is to connect us with other businesses in the network and we’ve really felt a great benefit from that.”

Julie Crowle, owner of Clear Mind added: “It’s ideal for me. I can come and go as I want to and it’s got flexible working rooms and space – and lovely people. It feels really comfortable. I take a deep sigh when I come and it’s like coming home.”

And Mark Peglar, managing director of ParkCloud, loves the venue’s strong community dimension: “We chose Central Working because we really like the environment, the decor, the standard of the offices. There’s a very strong sense of community. You get to know people very well.”

With three types of membership package on offer, pricing is all-inclusive which is another thing that sets them apart – and everything is designed to be as flexible as possible.


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