Submitted by Sestini & Co
| on Tue, 10/29/2013 - 8:43 | In Uncategorized
I don’t know if I’ve been a bit slow to catch on, but all of a sudden, it seems as though Business Hubs, Impact Hubs and Co-working spaces are everywhere.
I’m not complaining, I think they are a fabulous idea.
It is also an idea of it’s time. As technology and business practice produce ever more ways for people to freelance, set up their own business or simply work flexibly, there is an increasing number of people spending at least some of their time working from home.
Now, working from home is rather appealing: at best, an environment the worker/entrepreneur/business owner has created for themself, with the right amount of light, sound and space. Everything to hand, systems working seamlessly and the right support in place to make it all happen.
However, home workspaces don’t always conform to this ideal….there might be young children in the house, or washing-up/cleaning to be done , a cramped desk in a spare room or other hitherto undreamed of distractions or inconveniences. Even for those lucky enough to have a dedicated, peaceful space, there might be days when they just need to be with other people.
And that’s where the Hub, or Co-working space comes in. Not to be confused with serviced offices (although in some cases offering a number of the same services), a Hub is a flexible workspace where it’s possible to book a desk or a private office by the month, week, day or even hour. Turn up at the appointed time, plug the laptop or tablet into the (hopefully) superior broadband and get working. The good ones (and I haven’t yet seen any bad ones) are light and airy with large desks, comfy chairs, break-out spaces, private offices and a warm welcome.
The people occupying the other desks will invariably be there for similar reasons: to work alongside other people, other entrepreneurs. To enjoy again a bit of “water-cooler time” or the kind of banter they remember fondly from their office days. Or simply to get out of the house for a bit.
Given that a large number of the self-employed have at some stage in life served their time in busy offices, factories, warehouses etc, moving straight into days of working from home, alone (or even in a small office with one or two other people) can be a bit of a shock to the system). Spending a little time, even a few hours a month, in an environment with like-minded people can be incredibly re-energising as well as easing that transition.
Most business hubs work on a membership basis and membership criteria can vary – some are industry specific, some are focused on certain sectors, e.g. creative or hi-tech businesses, whilst others are simply looking for successful businesses in the local area.
So we have a new way of working: leaving employment no longer means “going it alone” and forgoing the easy sociability of a busy office. It also provides opportunities to share best practice, talk through the latest frustrations, find a good sounding-board or even potentially a new business partner.
Not to mention that the majority of hubs offer free networking opportunities and in some cases even free coffee 🙂
If you work from home and haven’t tried it yet, I’d strongly recommend you get along to your local hub to check it out. My local hub is the Mendip Hub in Wells: http://www.mendiphub.co.uk/ – if you’re based in Somerset, maybe I’ll see you there…