The rise of the co-working centres
Today 4.69 million British people work on a self-employed or freelance basis, up 23% from 3.8 million in 2008. In fact, the Telegraph predict that “going freelance” could eventually overtake the public sector as a source of employment.
While some may opt to work from home with occasional trips to their local Wi-Fi connected coffee shop, others have chosen to preserve their work/life separation by joining one of the growing number of co-working centres springing up to service the self-employed across the country.
The UK’s best co-working cities
Where in the UK are the most favourable locations for co-working centres? Whether you’re working from “home” once a week, a freelancer in need of a change of scene, or a three-person start up that requires centres to grow, where will you find the best workstations and the best prices? We’ve run the numbers, designed an algorithm and built a smart co-working map of the UK so you can find your perfect, productive spot.
We used a weighted index to calculate and rank the top cities in the UK, as well as London districts for co-working centres. This relied on three key metrics:
- Number of start-ups per 100k population
- Number of working centres per 100k population
- Average desk price
We then scored each metric for each city or London district, on a scale of 1-10. The scores for all three of the metrics were totalled up to give the overall score and it is this score that determines a city’s/ London district’s ranking.
Here are the top 16 locations:
3. Milton Keynes
Price & Choice
The cost of co-working workstations was our number one ranking factor when we assessed the UK’s top co-working cities. The better value of workstation rates offered, the better the city performed overall. Although not the cheapest co-working city on our list (that title goes to Sheffield where average rates are £199.00 per month), Nottingham still provided one of the cheaper rates, with a £218.00 per month average rate against the national average of £286.50, 24% lower.
Choice of centres was our second crucial ranking factor. To assess choice, we looked in detail at each city’s population, the number of start-ups per city and the number of start-ups and co-working centres per 100k population. Nottingham scored highly here too, with 10.5 co-working centres per 100,000 people, versus the national standard of 7.8, serving the local entrepreneurial community well.
Why London lost out
The performance of London, the lowest-ranking city on our list at number 16, may come as a surprise to readers who view the capital as a hot bed of entrepreneurial energy. Its low rank is a result of the incredibly high volume of start-ups in the city and the comparatively low number of affordable co-working centres choice to them.
London’s 183 centres may outstrip those of other cities offering less choice by a considerable margin, but London is not the highest-ranked option where price is the most influencing decision factor, with a high average workstation pricing of £613.00 per month, 114% above the national average.
For more complete information and the full stats, take a look at the interactive map.