Inside Node Cowork in Roundswell - Credit: Submitted

North Devon workers offered free desk space

Joseph Bulmer

North Devon workers are being offered free workspace as part of International Coworking Day.

Node Cowork in Barnstaple is offering free workspace for the day on 9th August to anyone who wants to explore a closer to - but not at - home working option.

Coworking is the term given to a way of working where people from different companies, backgrounds and perspectives choose to work from a shared space. As well as helping save costs in office rent and utility bills, coworking spaces act as community builders, where people naturally form friendships and working relationships by sharing challenges and successes together.

There is a growing sense that this way of working could play a crucial part in helping unlock local economies, as if people are able to work from a shared space closer to home, they are more likely to spend money with local businesses, in their own communities.

Simon Gear is the COO of Barnstaple-based award-winning Accord Marketing. Simon and Accord have recently introduced a hybrid working format that gives everyone all the positive lifestyle aspects of home-working whilst maximising the benefits of being in an office and spending time with colleagues.

Simon said that coworking gave them a professional working environment, but also the flexibility to change things as needed: “The pandemic really hit home to us how inflexible traditional office space can be. When you are locked into five-year leases with little wiggle room, you’re effectively renting space for far more time than you need to use it.

“More than the commercial side of things, we’re a company with a relatively young and creative workforce - and so need a workspace to match. Marketing is also all about being curious and applying new perspectives to your work - so being around different types of people and businesses is really important - coworking fosters that. There aren’t a lot of modern-style offices in North Devon, so to find one that fits that bill and has a growing coworking space was perfect for us.”

Node is run by coworking and small business experts, Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq) on behalf of Devon County Council. It is part-funded by the County Council, the European Regional Development Fund and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership

Julian Dymond, Community Manager for Node, said “As more people and organisations embrace a hybrid working model, it's becoming clear that flexibility is key. Working from home is great, but you lose a lot of the benefits of working with other people. Similarly, commuting to an office takes away a lot of freedom and work/life balance that people are starting to prize.

“There are practical benefits to working this way too. With fuel and home energy costs rising, people are seeking ways to mitigate the costs of living. We believe that coworking has a big part to play in solving these challenges. As well as the benefits of working with others, such as natural networking, collaboration and mutual idea and problem-solving, workers can also ditch the commute and home energy costs by working from a local, shared space.

“International Coworking Day is a perfect way for local people to try out this way of working, and we’d encourage anyone thinking of giving it a go, to come along and try it for free.”

Free coworking is taking place at Node Cowork on Enterprise Road all day on Tuesday, August 9.

For more information or to book your free workspace for the day, you can email julian@thetownsquare.co.uk or call 01271 452442.

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