Saturday, 16 July 2011
Introducing Co-working UK
Space on Tap started its journey mid-2010 and has since developed a directory of spaces that are available for occasional use by homeworkers, freelancers and anyone that needs somewhere to work, meet, train, coach, hold an event, you name it. We've discovered some amazing spaces across the North East and are now looking beyond the region - mainly because our customers have asked us to!
On our travels we've discovered that spaces that accommodate occasional or regular co-working for people who work from home or that run small businesses, are few and far between, and in the North East of England in 2010 they were non-existent. With little exception, the option is to work from home or take on an office. There's no in-between.
Space on Tap's Colleagues on Tap co-working days have therefore served to fill this gap short-term, through setting up 'pop-up offices' across the region to provide opportunities for co-working through one day events. We plan to continue to run the programme of events from Autumn 2011, and have undertaken some research with 40 of our Colleagues on Tap co-workers that we'll be publishing on this site soon.
Overall, though, what we've learned is that there is a demand for co-working, albeit latent (people have just accepted that it's either the house or an office lease and most have opted for the former). We also have evidence that it's genuinely the co-worker community that makes co-working work for freelancers, home-based and small businesses, not the space, but without the space it's difficult to make the community happen.
This isn't 'chicken and egg' though. Our Colleagues on Tap initiative will continue, both to provide value to co-workers on the day of each event, but also to help people to recognise how co-working can actually help them to run their businesses better, and therefore help them to grow. This in turn will increase demand for co-working space and our quest is to make sure that space is available, UK-wide. We'll be licensing Colleagues on Tap for national roll-out over the next couple of months. If you'd like to find out more get in touch.
It's fantastic to see progress already being made on the space front too. We've had a part to play in the emergence and development of a couple of co-working spaces already in the North East of England (search for 'co-working' in the Space on Tap Perfect Places Directory), and with our support we know that more will follow. We've also recently delivered on a commission to demonstrate both actual and latent demand for co-working spaces for a local authority in the North East, and will be telling you more about our findings over the coming weeks.
What we've also recognised, is that there's a need to pull together in one place the information we're passing on, the great resources and information that already exists (mainly outside of the UK) and the discoveries we make on our journey. We also want to identify the gaps - so we can go off and fill them! That's why we've created this blog.
So, welcome to Co-working UK - we hope it proves to be a useful resource, and that we can look back in a couple of years and measure the distance travelled as we fulfil our aim of helping home-based businesses to grow through stimulating and supporting the development of co-working and co-working spaces across the UK. If you'd like to follow us on our journey opt to follow our blog.