All Work and Social, the developer’s serviced office arm, has rebranded as Department and confirmed that it will operate an initial four sites in Manchester in response to changing office demands post-Covid-19.
Department will aim to provide an antidote to “rigid” workplaces, said Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London and founder of Department.
In 2018, Allied London announced that All Work and Social would operate a co-working space called The Department within its Bonded Warehouse development on Lower Byrom Street in Manchester, but the Department concept has grown now to encompass four sites in total, including XYZ at office scheme No1 Spinningfields.
Bonded Warehouse, part of Allied’s £1bn St John’s mixed-use development, has already opened and XYZ at No1 Spinningfields, is due to be fully operational later this year.
Allied also plans to open Department workspaces at the ABC Buildings office scheme on Quay Street, and at the mixed-use London Road Fire Station. The ABC Buildings Department is undergoing fit-out and due to open next year, while the London Road Fire Station branch is due to launch in 2022 under the name Department Piccadilly.
Speaking to Place North West, Ingall said each site was aimed at different types of company. XYZ would be designed to attract more corporate businesses while Bonded is aimed at tech firms, he said.
ABC would focus on media, TV and music businesses and London Road would provide “satellite” offices for London-based firms, taking advantage of its proximity to Piccadilly train station.
The co-working brand offers “fully customisable spaces”, including single desks, desk clusters and private studios, according to Allied London.
The venture also aims to provide “social spaces and opportunities”, developed in collaboration with local businesses.
Gyms, coffee shops and bars could all feature as part of the offering.
Ingall said: “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.
“Rigid workplaces with rows of desks must now be a ‘no-go’.”
Bonded Warehouse’s present occupiers include consumer finance firm Auden, fintech company Klarna, architect Levitt Bernstein, broadcaster Reform Radio, chamber orchestra Manchester Camerata and production company Jist Studios.
At XYZ, members include recruitment firm Rowan Partners, the Manchester chapter of the Institute of Investors, clothes brand Hurlingham Polo and sports consultant Sportsology.
Several recurrent trends have emerged in each industry, for example, financial services businesses are considering moving teams into flexible space, split between distinct projects, Ingall noted.
Workplaces are therefore being configured differently depending on the sector, although varied amenities may suit many different types of business.
“Our view is that the future is all about the workplace, rather than workspace,” he said.
“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.”