A Bedlington software developer has swapped code for co-working and opened a new venture to help home workers connect with their local business community.
Andy Millne has taken co-working literally by opening CO22 with his wife Helen. The couple have recently returned to the region from Slovakia where Helen was a teacher and Andy worked on community software projects from home. The isolation of home working prompted Andy to look at ways to help others in the same situation.
CO22 on Bedlington’s Front Street is a shared office facility designed for people that work at home or those setting up a business. The open plan workspace contains private offices, a kitchen area, and a meeting room. As well as providing a base which reduces worker isolation, it offers added benefits such as networking opportunities, high speed internet, late night working and the chance to interact with established business.
“I’m used to working alone at home and know how isolating it can be. Helen and I wanted to create a hub where people can come and go as they please, meet other businesses and work in a modern, well equipped office environment,” said Andy.
CO22 operates on a membership basis with packages ranging from day passes to professional business support depending on individual needs. For those that require administration support a virtual office provides reception services and mail handling but perhaps the real advantage of CO22 is the connectivity it offers with other businesses.
“We’re not just offering workspace; we are all about meeting people and the connections that you may never get when you’re working from home. A home worker may have great ideas and lots of talent and skills but sadly they are often invisible to others.
“CO22 gives the opportunity for our customers to meet people that can really drive their business forward and when you get lots of different people together in one room sharing ideas, great things can and do happen. When you’re new in business it’s nice to talk to other people and share experiences, “said Andy.
With the ever-increasing cost of living, fuel and energy costs, Andy believes that co-working is a more cost-effective option for many businesses.
“I’ve talked to many businesses who tell me that the cost of having their own office is prohibitive due to the increased cost of living. Add to that the added expense and time of the daily commute and co-working is a viable way to operate.
“Since COVID struck, many people are operating a hybrid system of working at home and the workplace but here at CO22 we are taking it a step further and providing a fully equipped office on their own doorsteps.”