New post-COVID-19 workplace concept Department launches

Department, a new managed workspace concept, has launched, combining work, social and wellness facilities under one roof, as it introduces the new era of the workplace.

It will operate seven sites, including four in Manchester, as well as Leeds and London.

The complete workplace offering, which is an evolution of the All Work & Social managed workspace operation originally founded as the award-winning Hello Social, by Allied London, will give businesses of one to 200 people space to work, scale and grow, providing everything a company needs to thrive in one place.

It has been created with an eye to client needs following the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace.

Department offers members fully customisable spaces, from single and clusters of desks, to private studios, allowing flexible working and giving companies space to evolve and change with their surroundings, providing the ultimate workplace solution for businesses in all sectors.

Each of Department’s sites will offer members a varied inventory of wellness and social spaces and opportunities, developed in collaboration with local business, with gyms, coffee shops, bars, tap houses and a gin distillery all on-site.

Manchester will be home to four operations – Department XYZ, Department Bonded Warehouse, both set to be fully operational in 2020, with Department ABC and Department Piccadilly fully operating in 2021 and 2022.

Department Casino Leeds and Department London will open in 2021.

Michael Ingall, founder of Department, 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.”

He added: “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.”

And he 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, 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.

“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 at Department, said: “​Our conclusion from the extensive research is that the workplace that was already evolving before COVID, has evolved 10 years in two 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 fully embrace the results seen from these surveys, as well as incorporate our group experience of designing and managing workspaces over the last 20 years.

“The changes we now need to make, will establish a successful and sustainable workplace that will endure what is in store for at least the next five years.”

Department launches with consumer finance business Auden in the Bonded Warehouse site in Manchester, 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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