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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.
It was the isolation of home working which prompted Andy to look at ways to help others in the same situation.
CO22, based in Bedlington’s Front Street, is a shared office facility designed for people who work from 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.
Andy said: “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.”
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,” Andy explained.
“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.”
With the ever-increasing cost of living, fuel and energy costs, Andy also believes that co-working is a more cost-effective option for many businesses.
New business hub opens in Bedlington for home workers – Northumberland Gazette