Being a freelancer can be a lonely business at times. I largely work from home, which is great as I don’t need to wake up til 8am, but a bit less cool is the fact that I can go days without leaving my house, or seeing anyone other than the postman (my new BFF btw).
But thankfully I’ve recently discovered the Ziferblat in Manchester city centre, a co-working space with a difference.
Ziferblat is a pay-per-minute communal sitting room, where guests are encouraged to treat the space like their own home (though turning up in your PJs is probably inadvisable).
There’s currently two in Manchester: one in the Northern Quarter on Edge Street and one in Media City. There’s further Ziferblats in Liverpool and London.
To visit the Ziferblat costs 8 pence per minute, but everything inside is included – wifi, coffees, teas, and plenty of tasty snacks, covering breakfast and lunch and those moments inbetween. That means an hour will cost £4.80, which is cheaper than a latte and a muffin from a chain coffee shop.
However, I would say time your trip wisely. Staying for an hour and grabbing some snacks? Pretty good value. Sitting for three to get some work done and only nursing a coffee? You’d be as well going elsewhere.
But for freelancers like me- or anyone who fancies going to chill for the day- there is a four hour day cap– meaning you can stay from 8am-10pm for £19.20. That’s all your working needs for less than 20 quid.
I arrived just before 9am, and the Ziferblat was very quiet. I had my pick of their many eclectic tables to set up on, and I had no issues accessing the wifi and getting my work started.
I did find the whole helping oneself concept a bit bizarre to start with, but once I started to feel more comfortable I started to enjoy it. I was able to have a pot of my favourite peppermint tea and a slice of coffee cake, whilst enjoying the playlist in the background as I worked.
One big benefit of working from the Ziferblat is that it’s a great place to meet up with people. Since starting my freelance journey the closest I’ve had to colleagues is fellow bloggers, and I was joined by Francesca from Fashion Dough. This was a great space to meet up and work together – it felt professional, yet casual at the same time.
The Ziferblat is set up in such a way that you can work on large tables with other people, or smaller desks by yourself, with plenty of comfy sofas ideal for coffee and a catch up dotted around. We made use of both, which was so much more enjoyable than being tied to an assigned desk in a typical coworking space!
I was surprised to learn that the Edge Street Ziferblat’s busiest time is actually at weekends. There are craft supplies, shelves and shelves of boardgames and even a piano to tinkle away on should your heart desire. I was told that the space is as popular with families and students as it is with blue-chip professionals.
I actually think this would be a great place to come on a weekend for a catch up now the weather is pants, though I’d be more interested in coming for the cake rather than the art supplies!
You can find out more about Manchester’s Ziferblats here.
Will you be paying it a visit?