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Collaborating and Co-working

The latest figures available (at least available to us) suggested that there are no less than 2,550 VAT registered businesses in the Harlow area. We would assume, although the stats aren’t available, that there must be at least that number of businesses again that are not registered for VAT. Regardless of the exact figure, it’s clear that there are a huge number of micro, small or mediumsized enterprises within this small area of West Essex. It’s forecasted that around 600,000 new businesses will have been started in the UK in 2016. Given that some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in this country can run a business with nothing more than a smartphone it’s not surprising that so many new businesses no longer require premises at all. The overheads associated with owning or renting office space can be crippling, and nowadays being available only between 9-5, 5 days a week is becoming less and less acceptable. The flexible working trend has rocketed.

The way people do business is changing dramatically as is their expectation to be able to work more flexibly creating a healthier work/ life balance. With so much data sitting in the cloud today, there has been a distinct shift in the number of homeworkers in the UK. In all big cities, especially overseas, there is a wide choice of different co-working spaces to subscribe to on a PAYG basis or as a more permanent solution. This allows for any size of business to have a dedicated office space that can be used flexibly, suiting their needs. Such spaces also drive collaboration and networking. To have a business address and sit in a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere, sharing ideas and collaborating with other like-minded entrepreneurs is invaluable and as an established business looking to upscale, a shared workspace offers resources, cost savings and multiple opportunities to help grow.

More and more empty desks and office spaces are adopting the Air BnB model of being rented ad hoc. If you have a spare desk in your office space and want to potentially generate a bit of an income from it as well as encourage entrepreneurship and networking with other businesses or if you’d like to do a spot of ‘Hotdesking’ it could be well worth having a look at some of these Air BnB style setups (loads of them are London based but it’s a trend that is spreading fast!) • • • •

NearDesk.com Desksnear.me Rentadesk.co.uk Deskcamping.com

• • • •

Hotdeskingclub.com Sharedesk.net Flexioffices.co.uk Officegenie.co.uk

There is, of course, the local library which has wi-fi and encourages footfall from those who are ‘working from home’.

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Stories Magazine for Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce