Two years after holding a one off pop-up office for those who usually work from home, North East businesswoman Jayne Graham is looking to expand the scheme region wide.
Space on Tap, was set up to help anyone looking for a space for their business or those with space to fill. In a bid to promote her online venue directory, Jayne decided to to hold a one off pop-up office, inviting those who run businesses from their homes along to make contacts and discover their full potential.
Jayne says: “After the first event people asked when I’d be holding the next one, so I quickly realised I was onto something and was keen to oblige!” Colleagues on Tap Co-working Days for Homeworkers are now a regular feature in North East business with over 35 events having being held in the North East.
Aware of how challenging working from home can be, Jayne wanted to find a way to solve the disadvantages of running a business from home. She says: “Anyone setting up a business will know that it can be a pretty lonely job at the best of times, but if you’re working at home that isolation can become a real problem, and as a result many home-based businesses never quite manage to reach their full potential.”
More than 150 people who ordinarily work from home have joined in with Colleagues on Tap events. Gosforth-based accountant Donna Skaife is a regular and believes that her attendance has helped to move her business in the right direction.
Donna says: “When I first heard that Jayne was starting the co-working days, I wasn’t sure how it would work as I would be away from all my files and desk, but they have genuinely provided me with a different way of working, away from the interruptions and the distractions of my familiar surroundings.
She continues: “Through the Colleagues on Tap I have made new friends, great contacts and gained interesting new clients, but most importantly it also provides me an escape to work ‘on’ my company WBS Accountants, rather than just ‘in’ it.”
As well as being a way of escaping the home office, Colleagues on Tap enable attendees to meet new people and build up useful contacts. Durham-based photographer Sarah Loveland used the events as a way to relocate her business from West Sussex so as not to feel isolated in a city she didn’t know very well.
Colleagues on Tap provides business men and women with more than just social interaction. The structure of events ensures that people can get on with their work in the company of others. At each session their is a business discussion which ensures that people can go away with a better understanding of areas including social media, marketing and finance.
Jayne has set up meetings in a variety of locations around the North East and has also launched an Associate Scheme which allows venues all over the region run their own events to meet the demand of the increase in homeworkers in the UK. Jayne is currently looking for venues in Durham, Sunderland, Northumberland and Teeside where she can expand the Associate Scheme before going national towards the end of the year.