The Workshop is the lowest-level building devoted to enhancing Production. It is a welcome addition to any city, especially if you plan to turn it into a unit training center or build a Spaceport there. Building a Workshop is a unique experience compared to other low-level buildings, considering you are investing Production for a long-term gain in Production. However, it takes several dozen turns to repay its full cost if you do not dedicate a Citizen to it, which is definitely not worth the trouble. It is often recommended, especially for smaller cities where you cannot freely dedicate a Citizen here, to either ignore it until Industrialization (where the Factory is unlocked, and in Gathering Storm, this technology is even more important with the Coal Power Plant being unlocked), or hard buy it with Gold. The true highlight of the Apprenticeship technology is 1 extra Production per mine, not this building.
Building three Workshops triggers the Eureka for Industrialization.
A workshop is for work … that is, for working wood, metal, glass, ceramic, and anything else needed to make something worthwhile. Stocked with tools and simple machinery, for hundreds of years workshops have been the abode of master craftsmen making everything from doors to doorknobs, from glassware to horseshoes (a blacksmith’s forge is a type of workshop). Ancient workshops date back to the earliest settlements of civilization, stamping Mankind as “homo faber.” By the Middle Ages, the workshop “economy” was well in hand, with practices gradually becoming ever more rigid – as in the case of the apprenticeship system, whereby young boys were bound to master craftsmen who taught them the intricacies of their skilled work. Apprenticeships generally lasted seven years, whereupon the apprentice became a master and could acquire his own workshop (those that didn’t were journeymen). However, the Industrial Revolution put paid to the entire system, as factories could mass-produce the items cheaper (albeit of poorer quality).