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Co-working in Devon

PUBLISHED: 12:33 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 20:32 20 February 2013

Co working means Devon's home workers needn't be alone. Working with other home workers in a shared space is a new concept already building in popularity in Devon.

Co working takes the form of Jelly Sessions, which are informal groups who meet regularly, or Work Hubs, which are purpose built, permanent work spaces available for rent for hourly, daily or monthly rates. Both Jelly Sessions and Work Hubs offer a way of working alongside others, which can counteract the feeling of isolation that some home workers experience, especially those in rural locations.

With developments in technology, an increasing number of us can now work effectively from the comfort of home, whether it is for ourselves or a distant employer. Being your own boss, flexible hours, working in your pyjamas, are just some of the joys of home working. Sometimes though, home workers can miss the social side of going out to work, perhaps the inspiration of being with others or maybe just somewhere away from those domestic distractions.

Jelly Co Working

The Jelly movement started in New York in 2006 by a group of people who enjoyed working from home, but missed the camaraderie of working with others. The concept has now reached these shores, with active groups cropping up around the country. Fiona Wilson of Cosmic ethical IT, runs Jelly sessions in Devon, she describes Jellies as informal groups of home workers who come together to work. Sometimes in a coffee shop or village hall, people bring along their laptops and will carry on with their own tasks. We like to choose comfortable places that have internet access. During the day there is some informal time to socialise, maybe have a coffee, just as you would in an office. A chance to share ideas, make contacts or just enjoy a change of scenery.

Fiona goes on to say that people dont always come with a laptop, sometimes people will bring along other work, such as handicrafts, if thats what they need to do that day.

Fi Glasspoole, who started her own IT based business this year, has joined in Fionas jelly sessions. She said, I found jellies to be a life line, running a business alone is fun, but you can feel out of touch, there are times when just having someone to bounce ideas off can be really invigorating.

Jelly sessions are usually free to attend and can be held weekly, monthly or just occasionally. If you would like to know more about jelly sessions in your area, or indeed would like to set one up yourself, please contact fiona.w@cosmic.org.uk

Hubs Working

Work Hubs are permanent work spaces in public buildings, such as libraries. In hubs you will find desks, internet connectivity, meeting rooms and all the amenities you would expect from an office environment. A space can be rented for long or short periods, it is like having an office in town, but only for the time you need.

Devon County Council is currently trying to assess the demand for work hubs in the towns of Exmouth, Barnstaple, Totnes, Newton Abbot, Ilfracombe and Axminster. If you would like to see a Work Hub in these towns please register your interest by completing the on-line questionnaire on the Devon Hubs website www.devonworkhubs.co.uk

Nigel Tremlett, of Transform Research who are conducting the study for the Council, said We need to hear from home workers about what their needs are in each town, so that we can tailor any solution to fit so please take advantage of this opportunity to tell us what is needed.

Although home working offers many benefits, co working is a chance to get away from home and meet with others in your local business community. Work hubs have already proved very successful elsewhere in the country and it maybe that you see one in a Devon town near you soon!

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