Monday, 23 April 2012

Getting the co-working message out!

A great day was had at the North East Expo exhibition last week.  Business people from all over the North East region congregated at the Racecourse in Gosforth to exhibit their businesses, or to attend a series of business development seminars and see what was on offer. Networking, marketing, selling, relationship building; it all happened that day. 

This was also the day I unveiled our new promotional banner and literature for Colleagues on Tap to the North East, and the feedback was fabulous!  

The benefits of co-working are hard to argue with - virtually everyone that approached the stand on the day enthused about the concept and recognised how or why they should get involved.  That's great news for the region's emerging co-working spaces, and of course for the homeworkers themselves - the greater the variety of businesses that attend Colleagues on Tap the better, ultimately, the co-working experience will be.

Colleagues on Tap provides people the opportunity to 'dip their toe in the water' to experience a new way of working, but critically this can complement working from home rather than replacing it.  Providing opportunities for people to get out of the home office for a change, have a change of scene, meet new people, in the way hundreds did at the Expo, but with the added benefit of being able to get their work done too, is definitely the way forward.  Of course some people do find that once they've experienced co-working, or working away from home, it really suits them and then start to look for workspace that will provide them the co-working experience.  These spaces, in the North East region at least, are pretty scarce, but I'm working on it!  

We've now teamed up with a couple of great businesses in Newcastle area that are evolving as dedicated co-working spaces (Newcastle Business Village and The Beacon), and through our newly launched Colleagues on Tap Associate Scheme we're hoping to encourage people who have space sat empty to consider co-working as a viable use of their space.  The Associate Scheme enables venues to run their own Colleagues on Tap co-working days to connect them with the local small business and home-based business marketplace, and to test out whether the development of a full-time space would be viable.  Demand for Colleagues on Tap days is rising as people discover the benefits of co-working as an antedote to working at home, so the more venues that take on this opportunity the better - so it really has to be win win.

For details of planned Colleagues on Tap co-working days go to the Co-working Calendar

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Year, New Co-working Calendar!

Happy New Year from Space on Tap!

We're really looking forward to creating pop up offices in some amazing venues this year, and because we've had so much demand we're planning to work with some of our venue partners who will hold their own Colleagues on Tap events this year through our brand new associate programme, so you can now have Colleagues on Tap more often if that's your preference.

Space on Tap's focus this year is on finding spaces that will stimulate your creativity (check out our first two arts venues in Newcastle and Stockton), as well as giving you the opportunity to connect with other homeworkers, share business knowledge and skills with co-workers and of course get a well earned change of scene away from the home office!  As usual food will feature highly in our planned events!  We've been trying out some new recipes over the Winter months so we're looking forward to sharing those with you in due course!

Go to our co-working calendar to check out forthcoming events, or to register your interest in attending future Colleagues on Tap days if there's nothing featured that's close to you as yet - the calendar will be filling up over the next few months so there's bound to be something coming to a place near you soon :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Durham co-working day announced for November

In response to popular demand we've managed to squeeze in another Co-working day for homeworkers in Durham before we batten down the hatches for the Winter break!

Come along to join us on TUESDAY 22ND NOVEMBER.

This will be a really great day.  We'll be hosted by Durham Office Services, a new business centre with a range of space for hire and rent, located on Belmont Business Park just off the A690 in Durham.

Join us for a change of scene from your home office for the day.  For only £20 + vat (members' price) you can connect with other home business owners in the Durham area, but get your work done at the same time (most of our past co-workers have said they get at least, if not more, work done at Colleagues on Tap than they do at home!).

We'll also spoil you with a lovely lunch and cupcakes, and you'll have the opportunity to join your co-workers for our usual SpoT chat after lunch when we'll be sharing experiences relating to a topical business issue (so far we've covered a whole range of areas of interest, from social media to DIY website development).

Find out more about co-working here, and if you'd like to book a place now CLICK HERE

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Homeworkers chat about making money from social media at co-working day

Shepherds Dene
Wednesday 29th September witnessed our long-awaited Colleagues on Tap co-working day at Shepherds Dene Retreat in Ridings Mill, Northumberland.

The beautiful sunny day defied the late September date for the event, temperatures reaching 28C during the day!
The windows of our 'pop-up office' for the day were opened, allowing us to take in the full impact of the breathtaking  views while we worked, and to savour the crisp, clean air of the Tyne Valley.

The new environment inspired productivity, as laptops were fired up and all involved were heads down getting on with their day's work (some had completed everything they'd brought for the day by lunchtime - a lesson for the future!).

Lunch was tasty, homemade fayre served in the dining room, enjoyed while getting acquainted with fellow co-workers.  As usual an eclectic and interesting mix of people.  A web designer, 2 accountants, a writer, an IT consultant, a well-being through movement coach, a marketing consultant, a virtual PA ('the admin doctor'!), a strategic adviser and the day's hosts from Space on Tap.

Our usual post-lunch SpoT chat took place on the lawn, again the warm weather and wonderful views providing an inspiring back-drop for the topic for the day, chosen by those who attended:  Making Money from Social Media.

Co-workers exchanged views and experiences of the range of social media they've used, and the indirect and direct benefits they'd achieved from it.  Here's a quick synopsis:

Social media used by the group - ultimately it really is down to personal choice and preference, but it was generally agreed that the broader your range of tools, the broader your audience will become and the greater the impact will be. 

  • The usual suspects (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Video/image media (YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr)
  • Alternative chat facilities (Ping and Myspace)

 Impacts of using social media: expected and experienced

  • Improved search engine rankings
  • Profile - business and personal
  • New customers (usually through indirect conversation, not hard selling)
  • New suppliers and associates (through effective use of keywords to find people with specialist skills)
  • New employee/job through a 'friend of a friend'
  • Expanded networks without attending events (although it was generally agreed that meeting people face to face can reinforce online relationships
Key messages
Every member of the group is using social media in some form or another, and to varying degrees. It was acknowledged that to have a real impact it needs a time investment, and it's difficult to commit that without being certain of the rewards.

Co-workers generally agreed that effective use of social media involved conveying a personality (for you or your business) and being consistent, and ultimately agreed that you can certainly make money from social media.  Whether the rewards justify or balance the input is open to question, but ultimately isn't that the case with all types of marketing? You never know ...

© Copyright Space on Tap Oct 2011

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Co-workers share ideas about how to 'train your customers'!

Jane Hogan of twentyeight, one of our regular co-workers, led the Colleagues on Tap SpoT chat at our 'mini' co-working day in Durham on 20th September.

Co-workers running a wide variety of home-based businesses from virtual PAs to IT and accountancy services shared their experiences of refining their target markets and marketing messages to maximise the impact of their sales activity.  The group benefited from Jane's insight into how to really hone your offer to make sure it stimulates interest;  the key message was, in brief, that it's better to be really specific and appeal to a few selected prospects than be broad and general and appeal to no one!

Through Jane's Value Innovations activity, twentyeight is becoming recognised as the source of a whole host of 'little business tools' that can help you to think again about your business to make sure what you're offering is really of value to your customers (or how to train customers better to want what you have to offer!).

Here are two tools Jane shared during the SpoT chat:

A matrix that enables you to map out where in the buying cycle your product or service fits (or could fit), and what added value it can bring in that context.
Jane explained that in reality there are only 6 ways that a product or service can add value, and it's important that your prospective customer understands where your product or service fits (so it's pretty important to have worked that out yourself!).  Jane suggests the 6 'utility levers' are

1. Customer Productivity
2. Simplicity
3. Convenience
4. Risk
5. Fun/Image
6. Social Responsibility


Once you're running a business change becomes more and more difficult - if only you'd known what you do now before you started - you might have done things differently.

Well Jane explained that all is not lost!  If you imagine you're starting with a blank piece of paper and starting the business again, you can think about what you would do differently.  Having someone else do this for you can also be really valuable (it may be a member of staff or simply a close associate - just be prepared for them to tell you the truth!

You may just be able to put into place some of the ideas that emerge - change has to start somewhere!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Colleagues on Tap works for me because ...

We've had so much fantastic feedback on Colleagues on Tap co-working days from homeworkers who've attended our events over the past year, we thought it was time to share some of the great things they've said.

So, here's a selection of quotes from past co-workers which hopefully will encourage you to come along and try co-working days for homeworkers if you haven't managed to already!  

Our co-working calendar for this Autumn can be found HERE

Getting work done, perhaps in a different way to being at home ...

"These days are extremely helpful in the enabling me to achieve important tasks in a busy week."

"I found the opportunity to sit on the swing & look at the crocus plants rather inspiring!"

"I did manage to get my work done but also managed to socialise at the same time which was great as being a home worker it does sometimes get lonely."

"There were fewer distractions than at home."

Networking and chatting with colleagues is an important part of the day ...

"I not only met some very interested people but also picked up some great tips using various networking sites."

"Met with people I knew from previous events ... and once again great cup cakes."

"Good to meet others in the same boat, reassuring as sometimes you feel you are the only one."

"Being a home worker it can get lonely in the office on your own and I really enjoyed the 'office' environment but being able to socialise at the same time and make new friends."

"Breaks the monotony and solitude of working at home. Potentially it brings me together with like-minded people. Gives good opportunity to discuss common predicaments ..."

"Great to have a quiet undisturbed place to do a bit of focussed work. also enjoyed the facilitated discussion, plus a chance to meet and chat with some interesting people."

The organised Spot Chat was useful ...

"I enjoyed the informal chat very much. It is an ideal way to exchange ideas and pick up inspiring thoughts from each other. I also gained encouragement from those present at the first meeting I attended."

"Relaxing sitting in the sun discussing things openly amongst each other."

"It was interesting to listen to other peoples views and experiences."

"Wonderful to find that the problems I thought I had are actually the same obstacles faced by other homeworkers - definitely not alone!"

"Good to know everyone else's feelings on the challenges of perceptions (including self-perception) of being a home worker and attempts to network."

And of course the cupcakes...

Jayne's home-made cupcakes are a popular feature !
"The cupcakes where to die for"

"In addition to good company, new contacts and information sharing, a nice change of scenery, a breath of fresh air... Oh and the desire to bake yummy cupcakes!"

"Of course the best moment of the day was when we received our cupcakes which were gorgeous !!"

 And finally ...

"Top day"

Please join us at one of our co-working days this September.  For your co-working calendar go to

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Colleagues on Tap proves to be good for home-based business

Through transforming venues into a ‘pop-up office’ for the day, Colleagues on Tap provides home-workers with a ‘day at the office’ experience as an alternative to the home office, complete with workspace, wifi and, critically, colleagues on tap.

In total a programme of 13 Colleagues on Tap co-working days for homeworkers have taken place between June 2010 and July 2011, with a further 5 events planned for Autumn 2011.

We have now produced a report to evaluate the rationale behind Colleagues on Tap, and to set out the results of a survey of over 50 homeworkers who attended the events during the initial 12 month period, with a survey response rate of over 85%. 

Key highlights from the survey results are:

  • Over half of the participants in Colleagues on Tap co-working days attended more than once (85% of males and 41% of females)
  • All but one of the homeworkers who attended ran their own business
  • Nearly 80% of co-workers reported that they'd managed to get as much work done as they usually do at home, and almost half said they'd actually improved on their usual productivity
  • 93% of attendees at events said they had made new contacts while they worked
  • 100% of those attending the 'SpoT chat' found it useful
For a copy of the full report get in touch and to check out our Autumn co-working calendar CLICK HERE

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Check out our New Blog - Coworking UK
We're pleased to introduce to you our new Blog Co-working UK.  The Colleagues on Tap blog will continue to focus on Colleagues on Tap, the co-working days we hold, and exciting plans for licensing the programme so more people can benefit from Colleagues on Tap!

We've set up the Co-working UK blog because we believe that co-working is fundamental to the growth of home-based business.

Through Co-working UK we will be sharing knowledge and best practice in co-working to stimulate and support the development of co-working and co-working spaces across the UK.

Check out the blog and find out more about what we're up to here

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Coworkers' skills swap - delivering great presentations that hit the spot!

At Colleagues on Tap co-working days we do our best to share the skills of our co-workers, making sure everyone goes home from the day with a little knowledge they didn't have before!

Anna Dorward
At our co-working day in Sunderland recently, Anna Dorward of Anna Dorward Learning Solutions led a skills swap session on delivering great presentations that hit the spot.  Here's a quick summary of the collective contributions of the group:

What type of presentations do you have to do?
• Informative
• Sales
• Educational slots
• Training

Where do you or could you do them?
• Webinars
• Lectures
• Launch events
• Workplaces
• Classroom
• Networking

How do you get your presentations right?

Effective preparation is key - focus on both the preparation stage and the delivery.

Points to consider and self assess may be:
• What is my mindset towards presentations?

• What can I do to ensure effective preparation - we discussed tips such as checking out venue in advance, preparing for questions may receive, your preferred method for your notes to ensure keep focused, methods to engage the audience, pilot the presentation to establish timings and so on

• Delivery of the presentation - think about opportunities to practice to receive feedback
such as training events with supportive facilitator, family or friends, you could record it
and watch it back, go through it on your own to actually hear yourself saying it etc

The group contributed to a fairly extensive list of effective and ineffective aspects of delivery derived from their own experiences.  If you'd like to see the full list get in touch with Space on Tap or Anna Dorward 

If you'd like to join us at future co-working days for homeworkers get in touch or request our current co-working calendar - we'd love to see you there!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Co-working in the NeST ...

Co-working area at NeST Barnard Castle
A group of 8 homeworkers descended on the NeST Gallery, Digital Hub and Cafe for a Colleagues on Tap Co-working experience on Wednesday 8th June.

Although several of our co-workers had already experienced NeST as an event space or a cafe (and 2 are already members of this co-working space) some hadn't visited before the event.  All enjoyed their inspiring workspace for the day, stimulated by the works of local artists that adourned the walls and of course their new-found colleagues on tap!

Workspace adourned by the work of local artists
The regular 'SpoT chat' session after lunch focused again on Cloud Computing - even more free products and services emerged from this discussion, to top the long list our co-workers came up with at an earlier Colleagues on Tap day at the Tyneside Cinema (which were also shared with colleagues during the session).  CLICK HERE to read 'Free Space ... in the Cloud'.

So, to add to the list of free Cloud-based services ... is a tool that allows you to create dynamic, customised presentations, and
Through  you can manage all of your contacts in one place (from Outlook to Twitter)

A key feature of Colleagues on Tap is the opportunity for co-workers to share knowledge.  We hope our Blog readers benefit from this too!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

WEBINAR: Why Coworking's good for business

Thanks to The Mussel Club for hosting this 15 minute webinar:  Co-working and why it's good for business.

CLICK HERE to find out what Co-working's all about, why it's good for business, and how/where you can do it.

If you'd like to find out more about co-working get in touch at

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Video Blog - Jeremy Scally's co-working secrets!

Jeremy Scally, Big Little Fish
Jeremy Scally of Big Little Fish talks about Colleagues on Tap co-working days and let's you into a secret about one member of the Space on Tap team ...!

CLICK HERE for Jeremy's Video Blog.

To book your place at one of our Colleagues on Tap Co-working days across the North East go to

Check out free Cloud Computing services used by some of our Colleagues on Tap co-workers HERE

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

FREE WEBINAR: Why Co-working's Good for Business?

Join us free, from the comfort of your desk, to find out more about co-working and why it's good for your personal and business development, particularly if you work at home or in a small team.

The Mussel Club is kindly hosting Space on Tap's first 'Net Meeting' for 15/20 minutes at 10 am on Friday 10th June.

CLICK HERE to find out more or to book your free place

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Free space ... in the Cloud

Co-workers getting down to business
in our Tyneside Cinema pop up office
Another great co-working day was had at the Tyneside Cinema on 10th May, with co-workers enjoying an inspiring office for the day as well as a free heritage tour around this amazing art deco building.  

Jeremy Scally, LittleBigFish
Our SpoT Chat after lunch, led by co-worker Jeremy Scally from BigLittleFish, centred around Cloud Computing, helping co-workers to understand what it is, and for the group to share their experiences ...

There was a really broad spectrum of knowledge in the group of 12 co-workers, from literally none at all (and really willing to learn from scratch!) to professional expertise (but still managing to up some tips during the chat!). Everyone agreed they'd learnt something during the session so a big tick for everyone involved :)

Co-workers shared their tips on free Cloud applications that they were already using and that they were happy to recommend - here's a quick list - we obviously can't endorse any of them formally, but we're looking forward to trying some of them out!

DROPBOX - Free File Sharing/Storing - great for sharing photos and large documents, but also if you need somewhere to store documents/emails etc for you to access remotely

FLICKR - Photo storage and sharing

JING - Allows you to take a picture or make a short video of what you see on your computer monitor (both free and paid for versions available)

MAILCHIMP - Email newsletters to up to 2,000 subscribers and track results with free version

SLIDESHARE - Provides online access to powerpoint presentations, documents and videos 

SKYPE SCREEN SHARING - Allows you to share your desktop screen with whoever you're talking to on 

SURVEYMONKEY - Online survey tool - free version is very useable and recommended by many, although most of the reporting and features come in the paid for version

VIMEO - An alternative to YouTube for sharing videos

If you have any questions or comments about any of these Cloud products, feel free to post them here and we'll ask Jeremy from BigLittleFish and others to respond.  


Video Blog - Why co-working's good for business, Dona Skaife

VIEW THIS SHORT VIDEO BLOG by Dona Skaife, WBS Accountants, who explains why Colleagues on Tap co-working days are good for her and her business.

If you'd like to join Space on Tap at a future Colleagues on Tap co-working day CLICK HERE to check out future events.
If you're interested in hosting your own co-working day, get in touch

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Feature on homeworking and co-working on Radio Teesdale

Listen to this short Radio Teesdale feature on homeworking and co-working including interviews with Jayne Graham, Space on Tap, Ruxana Mahdi of Barter Angels and Gary Hosey, one of our co-workers at The Morritt Arms, Greta Bridge in March.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Networks recommended by our co-workers at the Quadrus Centre Boldon

A successful Colleagues on Tap co-working day at the Quadrus Centre in Boldon, South Tyneside, last week provided us another opportunity to chat about networks we're collectively involved in, and that have borne fruit by way of new contacts.

We promised to share the group's recommendations, as follows:

MUSSEL CLUB:  The Mussel Club has formed groups across the region, meeting in local restaurants.  Format includes a key note speaker and networking before and during dinner.  Its new website includes the ability to connect with other members plus a net meeting facility so members can hold their own webinars free of charge.


NEWCASTLE BUSINESS MUMS:  Tends to meet every couple of months during the evening around the Newcastle area.  Again features speakers on a whole range of business issues. Very relaxed and informal - a great introduction to networking for business mums who're a bit out of practice!

MUMS BUSINESS CLUB NORTH EAST: Daytime meetings in various locations across the region.  Children are welcome, making this a great way to combine childcare with business networking for women who find it difficult to attend traditional networking events.

NETWORKING Another women-only event that meets weekly at 9.30 am every Friday on a rotational basis around the region, including Morpeth, Newcastle, Durham and Darlington.  Speed networking format provides a great opportunity to meet several new contacts during the session.  


Please comment below to add your own thoughts to this list - the more the merrier!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sharing networking tips ... coffee and cakes in the garden!

Colleagues on Tap 'SpoT chat' on networking
Well The Morritt did not disappoint.  Another successful Colleagues on Tap co-working day was had yesterday in sunny Greta Bridge, thanks to the wonderful surroundings, the impeccable service and an interesting (if eclectic!) group of co-workers.
Here's a run-down ...  Joining the SpoT team for the day were:

  • an electrical and energy consultant keen to help businesses to save and make money from energy; 
  • a leadership and behavioural coach who works internationally; 
  • a practitioner who uses the arts to promote health & wellbeing and develop professional skills such as creativity, innovation and enterprise; 
  • an IT Consultant who creates IT strategies for forward thinking companies; an economic development consultant who's currently working on a project for the United Arab Emirates; 
  • a recruitment specialist who works with a global distance learning organisation; 
  • an established consultant who 'researches and realises' a whole range of projects in culture, economic development and higher education across the North East; 
  • an IT solutions provider who specialises in working with small and home based businesses; and 
  • a recruitment consultant who focuses on whatever really matters to her customers across the recruitment process, from support with planning recruitment through to helping people think about how they present themselves through their CVs.

Pop up office in The Morritt's Garden Room
The diversity of the group did nothing but add to the interesting discussions throughout the day.  Although plenty of work was churned out on laptops, the group had plenty of opportunity to share experiences and provide support to each other on topics such as networking and favourite networks around the region, the topic of our SpoT chat, held in The Morritt's beautiful sunny garden.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Co-working in Teesdale

We're so looking forward to taking in the wonderful surroundings of The Morritt in Greta Bridge at our co-working day planned for this Thursday 24th, and if this great Spring weather keeps up hopefully we'll get to enjoy something of the Teesdale countryside over lunch!

The event's a sell-out, and we now have a waiting list, so we're excited about the prospect of doing more events at the Moritt and other great venues around the area in the future.

Radio Teesdale have also expressed an interest in what we're up to, and will be interviewing Jayne Graham who founded Colleagues on Tap co-working days, together with some of our co-workers on the day, for their
Business Programme being aired on 31st March.  Through the interview we'll hopefully be able to connect with a few more homeworkers across Teesdale, and talk about our next co-working event in the area which will take place at NeST in Barnard Castle on 8th June.

For details of other co-working events across the North East region, including in South Tyneside on 5th April, CLICK HERE 

Saturday, 19 March 2011

How many co-working spaces does the world need? (article)

"The traditional model of startups leasing their own office, buying their own copy-machines, hiring receptionists, office managers, cleaning services, etc., may best serve those companies which have validated their business models, closed a large funding round, and are flush with cash. For all others, we can expect the market to meet the demand for this new style of [co-]working, with a variety of options that appeal to all types of entrepreneurs ..."

Short article by Entrepreneur Corner that demonstrates the extent to which co-working has become embedded in the US, and that sets out the various types of co-working spaces that already exist - we've found examples of most in the UK too, although little in the North East it has to be said ... for now ... 


Friday, 11 March 2011

"The Promise of the Cloud Workplace", Strategy & Business

At Roam Atlanta: services, support, and social interaction. Photograph courtesy of Roam Atlanta

"Freelancers are turning to “co-working” environments for better workplace interaction. Companies could use them to boost productivity".

Interesting journal post From Strategy & Business (free online registration required) 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Reasons to co-work - it's not 'all' about the cakes, is it?!

Co-working space at Newcastle Business Village
The venue for our first co-working day back in June 2010, we revisited Newcastle Business Village on Thursday 17th Feb for Round 2.  The place has changed a bit since we were there last: the workspace is now open and bright, and the Village team were as welcoming and helpful as ever.

Newcastle Business Village's
home made chocolate brownies
We filled the space with co-workers by around 10 am, and all set to work using the fast WiFi connection that served us brilliantly all day.  Morning was interrupted only by the Centre Manager, Helen Reed's, home made chocolate brownies (yes really!) which went down a treat (and for some more than others - no names mentioned ...).

After lunch our SpoT chat took a slightly different format to usual, with a useful discussion around the table about  current projects, as well as sharing challenges and queries relating to homeworking.  The range of business activities around the table was diverse to say the last, ranging from a study into solid waste management in Europe through to the sale of Cloud-based accounting solutions.  The collaboration amongst the group, however, reaffirmed the fact that businesses don't need to be operating in the same sector to be able to connect.  The commonality was in the home base from which the companies operate and I suppose the sharing of cupcakes after lunch - other than one co-worker who chose to photograph her cupcake to illustrate to co-weight watchers what she hadn't eaten that day :).
'Those' Space on Tap cupcakes :)

When asked whether they managed to get as much work done as they would have done at home, the responses were mixed, mainly falling between 'the same' and 'more' which is great.  One co-worker said he'd achieved slightly less work than he would have done at home, but qualified that with "It depends on whether you consider networking (which was certainly useful) to be work". Well we do!

For a calendar of co-working days planned for March, April and May 2011 CLICK HERE

Quick co-working poll


Make your selection in our quick poll.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Why people don't co-work (yet)

According to a recent report from Deskmag, the 2010 Global Co-working Survey attracted a surprising number of responses from people interested in the concept, but who have not yet given it a try. 

Of these non-coworkers, 65% said they were seriously interested, 29% were slightly interested, and the remainder were non-committal.  Read more ...
Is there a co-working space near you? If there was, would you use it?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Co-working's about the people as well as the place

The concept of Co-working is now pretty much entrenced in the US freelancing culture, with strong co-working communities having formed around places, events and, as importantly, people, and has proven its worth in providing camaraderie, mutual support and hard business benefits.  

The UK has followed suit, with some great examples of established co-working spaces from Brigton to Edinburgh (and probably beyond), with many co-working communities having formed around the creative and digital sectors where the niche nature of much of the freelancing activity lends itself well to collaboration. 

It has been increasingly recognised, though, that successful co-working space is as much about the community as it is about the place (or 'hub').  So as well as the emergence of spaces that provide a structure that accommodates collaborative working, co-working has also been recognised as an opportunity to form a community or network beyond the space.  In fact to the extent that for example when a co-working space closed in the US quite recently the co-workers confirmed en masse that this would not impact upon their ability to co-work - they would literally just uproot and take their community somewhere else - even to the local cafe, as the bonds had already formed.

Creating the community
This said, the community needs a space in which to form, beyond virtual networking. As a hybrid of the US model, 'Jelly' co-working days were introduced into the South West a year or so ago to provide such opportunities, and last June Space on Tap introduced Colleagues on Tap into the North East, formerly virgin territory as far as co-working goes.  

Colleagues on Tap co-working days provide the opportunity for a group of people to form around a pop-up office which is created for the day.  With  now 7 (shortly to be 8!) co-working days firmly under our belts we have a proven formula that provides a plaform for freelancers and homeworkers to enjoy a day at the office surrounded by temporary colleagues, and through this new collaborations have formed.  A nucleus community already exists, with some co-workers having attended several events and forming bonds with likeminded co-workers which now extend beyond the events.  

Thursday, 10 February 2011

How to be a better co-worker

"Co-working has become a big trend in the tech and startups space - an office full of people working on different things, who have no official ties to one another.  Because of this, it can be hard to get the behavioural balance right ..."  READ MORE 

Join our LinkedIn Group

Colleagues on Tap has formed a new group on LinkedIn - Colleagues on Tap.  Through the group we plan to keep in touch with people who have co-worked with us, and those who plan to co-work with us in the future, provide a forum for co-workers to continue to keep in touch after events, and also chat about all things co-working and Colleagues on Tap.
Join us!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Share ideas with colleagues through co-working

Pop-up office at Newcastle City Library
Another successful Colleagues on Tap co-working day took place at Newcastle City Library on 19th Jan.  Our first since the Christmas break (and snowy December!) we had a small but perfectly formed group of 7 co-workers (2 were unable to attend on the day through illness and are coming along to our next planned event instead).

Our pop up office was located on the 6th (top) floor of the library, with fabulous views across the city on what turned out to be a bright, sunny day.  The library staff were highly accommodating with our arrangements, and lunch in the Stewart & Co cafe was tasty.

Co-worker Angela Dawson
As well as the usual 'office banter' and chatting over lunch, we also had the opportunity to exchange ideas as a group on the subject of outsourcing, helped along brilliantly by Angela Dawson, a Virtual Assistant who runs two businesses in the North East including her virtual PA service, Dawson VA Services. 

As well as helping us to understand the mysteries of the VA and how to manage a virtual assistant effectively, the SpoT chat also allowed the group to think more generally about which aspects of their business could be effectively outsourced.  As small business owners we tend to do everything ourselves, struggling on regardless, but Angela helped us to realise that in reality this could actually be working against us (false economy?).  By passing on the management of IT, marketing, finance, admin, whatever, to someone who's dedicated to that activity day in day out, you can then more readily focus on the areas you're great at, and do more of it, rather than getting bogged down in things that not only absorb time but also make you feel pretty rubbish too!

Thought provoking stuff and an interesting discussion from which a whole range of perspectives emerged. Some of the group currently outsource quite readily, others were the beneficiaries of outsourcing decisions (marketing, IT, admin), and one co-worker's thoughts on when to outsource was directly related to their pain threshold, rather than business logic - we've all been there!

The real benefit in co-working occasionally with other small business owners is the opportunity to share thoughts on a whole range of business issues in a way that's pretty difficult to do when you work alone.  Business discussions tend to relate to your customer's business, rather than your own, and it's much more natural for these exchanges to occur during the course of a working 'day at the office' than on a planned basis. Co-working works for businesses who just need to consider options, share ideas and gain knowledge in an informal way, as they would with colleagues in a larger business, and of course a change of scene is great for everybody!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Let's talk about co-working

A real interest in co-working has started to develop in the North East.
Space on Tap's Colleagues on Tap co-working days have proven to be a popular addition to traditional networking activity, providing the opportunity for people who usually work from home, or in a small team, to work alongside new colleagues for the day in 'pop-up' offices set up in a whole host of locations across the region.  It has to be said that the Northern part of the region has seen greater take-up so far, although we have now started to receive some interest from business people in the Tees Valley and Durham areas too, and our Spring 2011 programme spans the region from Ridings Mill in Northumberland to Stokesley in Tees Valley/North Yorks.  More details here.

So, let's talk about co-working.  If you want to know more about co-working just ask in the comments section below or email us at

We'd also love to gather your COMMENTS / IDEAS / THOUGHTS about co-working.  Here are a few questions to start you off:

- What's most important in co-working - the space or the people?

- What are the 3 features a co-working space would need to have to make you want to go there?

- What would you prefer, a 'co-working event' or a 'co-working space'?

- Would you be interested in joining a co-working network?

- What's better for personal and/or business development - co-working or networking?

- Is co-working for people who work alone, or could larger organisations benefit from it too?

Thanks for contributing :)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

FACT: Co-working is good for business

FACT:  Co-working is good for business. 

Through Space on Tap's co-working days (Colleagues on Tap) which are held regularly across the North East of England, we help people who work from home, or that usually work alone, to connect with other home-based businesses.  Even during the course of one day it's amazing how quickly a mutually supportive co-working community starts to exist.
Co-workers at a Colleagues on Tap coworking day
We've witnessed new associations being formed between quite diverse businesses, business deals being struck and informal mentoring and coaching starting to emerge.  Through the exchange of ideas and knowledge and some real camaraderie (and, in our case we also add delicious cupcakes into the mix!) business people develop themselves and their businesses through co-working in a pop-up office for the day.

Working alone is great, most of the time, but we all need people around us sometimes to stimulate fresh thinking and help us to remember how capable we are!

Those cupcakes ...
Book your place at a Colleagues on Tap co-working day today.  We have events planned in Darlington/South Durham, Newcastle, Stokesley, North Tyneside and Northumberland, so there really is something for everyone!

CLICK HERE for more details, or for the 'insider view' get in touch with Jayne or Joanne at

For more views on how co-working's good for business check out this post from the Global Co-working Blog

Friday, 31 December 2010

Homeworkers can kick-start 2011 with colleagues on tap co-working days

There's no doubt that homeworking really comes into its own during the Winter months!  Like most, the Space on Tap team hasn't ventured out much, preferring to stay cosy in our home offices and taking advantage of technology to keep in touch with each other and our customers and suppliers.
But now the Festive season's just about over and the snow's just about melted we're really looking forward to getting  back to 'business as usual'.  We're planning new developments for 2011, and are looking forward to bouncing around ideas within the team over the next few weeks.
When you work for yourself, or from home, you can really miss those casual off-the-cuff chats with colleagues that can spark new ideas or help you to think through the way forward.   This is exactly why we introduced Colleagues on Tap.  In a 'pop-up office' that we create for a day we bring together a bunch of people to co-work for the day. With an option to 'do your own thing' while you benefit from a change of scene, or take advantage of chats with new colleagues in a friendly and informal atmosphere, everyone gains something from Colleagues on Tap.
Why not kick-start 2011 by experiencing co-working at a Colleagues on Tap day?  On 12th January we'll be at the wonderful Morritt Hotel just South of Durham (log fires and wonderful food are likely to be on the menu!) and on 19th January you can join us in Newcastle City Centre at the City Library.
CLICK HERE to find out more about Colleagues on Tap or to book your place or email us at for more info.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Introducing some of our Colleagues on Tap co-workers

Space on Tap's Colleagues on Tap Co-workers
at Cobalt BX Nov 2010
Source: News Guardian

Pictured Left to Right:
Jeremy Scally (Little Big Fish)
Joanne Turnbull (Space on Tap)
Sharon McKee (SEM Communications)
Angela Dawson (Dawson VA Services)
Mike Bell (Mutual Inspiration)
Dona Skaife (WBS Accountants)
Jayne Graham (Space on Tap)
Vicki Stone (Vicki Stone Marketing)
Darren Glanville (Xero)
Tracy Suddick (Tracy Suddick Business Consultant).

Not pictured: Emma Hardie (Experience North Country)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Camaraderie, clouds (& yet more cupcakes!)

What a great day we had yesterday at another Colleagues on Tap co-working day. 

Space on Tap's 'Pop up office' in Cobalt BX auditorium
Most of the 11 co-workers arrived 'at the office' at the Cobalt Business Exchange between 8 and 10.30 am, and with laptops out, heads were soon down and our colleagues set to their tasks for the day.  The clatter of keyboards and chat from the occasional phone call combined nicely with office banter across the 'pop-up office' - a welcome change for homeworkers who usually work alone.

The morning raced away, helped along by plenty of coffee, and after a quick photo call with the North Tyneside Guardian we collected in The Cobalt's on-site Cafe Meo for a snack and the opportunity to meet some new faces.  What a great group of people, all amazing business people either running their businesses from home or, in one case, a homeworker who works for a global IT solutions company.  The mix was eclectic to say the least!  For those who like lists, our colleagues for the day included:   an accountant, a marketing expert, a wellbeing coach, a business development manager, a web retailer of local experiences, a personal development coach, a management consultant, a virtual PA, an IT adviser ... plus Joanne (Space on Tap ops manager and Colleagues on Tap organiser extraordinaire) and me (space promoter and, in another life, strategic adviser).

Amid the diversity of our companies we had a lot in common.  First, and most obviously, we normally work from home, and all welcomed the opportunity to step into an office environment for a change (we don't want to work in an office every day, you understand, but just now and again's great for a change of scene).  But it goes beyond that.  We all have something to give, in the form of information, knowledge or advice, and  everyone involved willingly offered something to their temporary colleagues during the course of the day.  Advice on WordPress, Cloud Computing (what is it, and how can we take advantage?), contacts for training grants, suggestions on guest blogging, exchange of website links to improve SEO, suggestions for future Colleagues on Tap co-working days, customer leads, diary dates to meet again, and loads of positive input and encouragement.  

The day exuded true camaraderie: giving, without any expectation of something in return.

The SpoT chat 'on the sofas' after lunch (helped along by homemade cupcakes a la Space on Tap) has become a regular feature of our co-working days, and this time provided a great opportunity for an informal exchange of knowledge about how to store and access files, data and software without being tied to your PC or laptop.  The conversation started on ways to collaborate online and share files and data through using tools like DropBox and Microsoft Groove, and evolved to a discussion about Cloud Computing which switched on a few lightbulbs and got us all thinking about new opportunities enabled by powerful software that's now available 'in the cloud' for only £5 or £6 a month. The conclusion after an hour was that there was a lot more to learn but the fog had started to lift - and the lists of 'must do' had become that little bit longer!

Co-workers started to drift off to do school-runs and the like from mid-afternoon, and the pop-up office closed just before 5.  A great day of camaraderie and clouds, confirmed through great feedback from co-workers via Twitter:

@BigLittleFish Would like to say thanks to @ for arranging yesterday and hello to @@ @@
@tmsuddick @ Thank you ladies for such another awesome co-workers day! Lovely to catch-up with colleagues, meet new ones and share ideas :-)
@DawsonVAServs @ @@ @@ @@ @@ thx 4 fab day
@AbsolutelyGrn @ @@ @@ lovely to meet you all there - great idea, fab day
@VickiStonebiz Newcastle Business Mums @Good day today @ Cobalt, despite problems with car this morning!
@ExpNorthCountry @ co-workers day going GREAT! Lovely to have lunch with a nice group of fellow biz people & share ideas around cloud computing!
@YourITA @ Sorry for missed your co-working day yesterday! Must be another good chance meeting new people and work at the same time! :)
@ExpNorthCountry @ thanks again - LOVED it! @ @@ @@ @@