I’ve written about remote working previously – one of the earliest posts on this blog, in fact. Back then, remote working typically meant people who had the facilities set up to enable them to work from home, either full or part time. Times, technology and culture are changing though. There’s been a significant rise in the number of coworking businesses over the last few years. I’ve been a beneficiary of facilities at both TechHub and Google Campus in recent times. Community often plays a strong part in the value of such spaces – but this means they’re often limited to just one location.
I recently recently needed an office space for an afternoon in a different part of town – Tom Ball, founder of NearDesk jumped in and offered to show me round his new space (DeskLodge) near Euston. Short term, it was most useful and certainly had everything I needed. More interestingly, it opened my eyes to Tom’s other main project, NearDesk. Rather than a physical coworking space, NearDesk aims to create a situation where a firm or individual can sign up once – but use NearDesk membership to gain access to coworking spaces in a wide variety of locations. It’s been described as an Oyster Card for office space!
I’m particularly keen of Tom’s focus on the benefits to coworking. Not so much the usual pitch of community, no long term commitments to office space etc, but the alternative pitch to those who usually have an office, but need to commute to it. Tom’s pulling figures on those who travel to work, how long it takes, what the cost it and so on. The site now contains pages for all the major towns in Britain, actually given an idea of what the cost of commuting is – and what the benefits might be if we all chose to work more locally one day a week.
The NearDesk system is also accessible to those businesses who have perhaps suffered economic hardship and now have empty desks: get them rented out, covering costs, but have them available to the business when you’re ready to grow again. NearDesk have lofty ambitions in terms of changing the way people work – but bearing in mind the success achieved with both rounds of investment raised on Seedrs, they’re more than capable!