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