November 14, 2022
A Barnstaple coworking and business hub is encouraging local workers to take advantage of support being offered to ensure flexible working remains affordable as living costs continue to rise.
Node Cowork on Enterprise Road is highlighting the alternative option of coworking - whereby people from different companies, backgrounds and perspectives work from a shared space - through a number of funding and discount schemes aimed at entrepreneurs starting or growing a business and at existing teams working under a hybrid or remote model.
The call to freelancers, business owners, hybrid and remote workers who regularly use their home as a workspace comes after a survey revealed that 1 in 4 homeworking Brits were already planning on spending less on food to curb astronomical energy price hikes.
In response to the soaring household costs, which have driven 1 in 2 to reconsider whether they can still afford to work from home, the hub is urging budding business owners to apply for the Square One bursary. Applicants could be granted 3 months’ worth of free coworking, one-to-one business support and access to expert-delivered workshops to support the development of their enterprise.
Additional free business support for a group of prospective startup founders is launching in the new year - Startup Club will run on weekday evenings and introduces attendees to the fundamentals of business, getting them ready to leap into entrepreneurship without needing to take the risk of quitting their day job beforehand.
As 75% of surveyed homeworkers said that they felt their employer has a responsibility to provide flexible working options if it becomes too expensive to work from home, Node is also appealing to employers to take advantage of a membership plan dedicated to helping teams find an alternative to home or office working.
Sam Brown is a freelance filmmaker and photographer and has been based at Node for almost a year. He joined with his wife after starting a family, in search of a quiet place to get work done around his new parenting commitments.
Sam said that he was already feeling the pinch of soaring costs: “As a family, we’re already making changes to our personal spending habits in the form of sacrificing luxuries like subscriptions and eating out.
“As utility prices continue to rise, I will definitely be looking to increase the number of days I work from Node as our budgeting may no longer be enough to offset the costs of using home energy all day. As a photographer and videographer, an ideal benefit to working at Node is that I’ve got somewhere to charge my equipment, which can be really energy-intensive and this reflects on electricity costs.
“It is the best place to be in terms of my business, too - joining as a member introduced me to lots of like-minded people who offer motivation and advice, including a small community of fellow photographers and videographers who also work from the space and often share work opportunities.
“I don’t think my business would be where it is now without the people I’ve met or the productive environment I work in, and I’m grateful to be a part of it as we enter uncertain times.”
Node is operated by coworking and small business experts, Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq), on behalf of Devon County Council.
Julian Dymond, Community Manager at Node said: “In recent years, there has been huge disruption to the status quo of working routines with remote and hybrid models becoming immensely popular, and 9-5 five-day office weeks falling increasingly out of favour with workers.
“However, with so many people struggling with the costs of working from home, there is cause for concern that the progress already made to transform working lives could be at stake.
“By providing support at Node we want to ensure that coworking is an affordable way to retain these freedoms, striking that balance between flexibility and accessibility. It’s also a fantastic network builder - the natural friendships that form between coworkers allow people to share experiences, learn from one another and often develop partnerships and professional collaborations.”
“If anyone is worried about their current situation or wants to find out more about how we could offer a helping hand during this tough time, the best thing to do is to get in touch and find out how we can help!”
To find out more about the support available at Node, book a tour.