Thursday, 20 October 2011

Spotlight on Durham Spaces

Discover Durham spaces at www.spaceontap.com
Durham is proving to be a real hotspot for great business space that's available for occasional hire and longer term rent/lease.

We're delighted to be featuring a great collection of diverse and amazing places in the Perfect Places Directory.

Try searching for Durham spaces at www.spaceontap.com and see the scope and variety you'll discover!

Here are some of our current favourites:


ALINGTON HOUSE.
Flexible space that can accommodate a whole range of needs, from individual offices and meeting rooms through to a hall for up to 100.  Alington House is close to the cathedral and castle, with a balcony onto the River Wear.  It's open 7 days a week, weekdays until 9 pm.



HONEST LAWYER.
Just outside Durham at Croxdale, the Honest Lawyer is a great venue.  It's probably one of those places you've driven past and wondered what it was really like inside.  Well it's great.  Comfortable free meeting space is available in the ample bar and atrium areas (download your voucher for a free coffee!) and if you need meeting/training space that's catered for too.




MILLENNIUM SQUARE.
If you need a more permanent office, studio or retail unit, there's space available for lease in a great modern building beside the Durham Gala, in a perfect location on Claypath in the heart of the city.  If you're interested (without commitment at this stage) just provide your contact details before the end of October to find out more info.


VAN MILDERT COLLEGE.
Durham University has a whole host of spaces  you can hire, and many of them provide a really impressive backdrop for your meeting or training course.  The Lakeside Room at Van Mildert College is just one example; with its wonderful lakeside view (the clue's in the name!) it's an ideal venue for meetings and training courses, with free wifi and equipment and refreshments available on tap.


DURHAM OFFICE SERVICES.
Located on Belmont Business Park, Durham Office Services is a recent addition to our Perfect Places Directory.  With spaces of various shapes and sizes available for occasional hire and rent in this modern business centre this could be the ideal place to help you to run your business.  As well as space in the form of drop in offices and meeting rooms, Durham Office Services also provides business services - from admin support to a business address - on an 'as you need it' basis.

Drop in offices, space for rent, training rooms with a view, in Durham city centre and just outside.  If you need space in Durham, Space on Tap has it covered!  Of course if you know of other spaces that Space on Tap could include in the Perfect Places directory please let us know

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Our Top Ten Twitter Triumphs

We were excited to be invited recently to take part in an event being run by Service Network, a North East network that aims to provide a stimulating environment for businesses in the region's service sector to learn, grow and prosper.

These aims really fit with our own, so we were pleased to take up their offer to speak at an event geared to supporting businesses to develop their digital footprint through using social media.  It was a great event, well attended (probably about 80 businesses there in all), and packed with social media know-how from brand agency Better and Flint Consulting.

So why was Space on Tap asked to speak, you may well ask!  Apparently because we had been recognised as a business that's positively incorporated social media into our marketing strategy.  Or, in other words, they'd noticed that we tweet a canny bit :)  

We were asked to focus our presentation towards how we'd gained profile for Space on Tap, an early stage start up business, through using Twitter.  When we started to pull together the presentation we even surprised ourselves at how much we'd actually achieved, so I thought I might share some of our Twitter successes with you.

OK, so here we go with our Top Ten Twitter Triumphs since we started tweeting in May/June 2010.

Follow us @spaceontap
1. We sent our very first tweet.  That might not sound like a triumph, but I can assure you that those 140 characters were painlessly crafted, changed about 20 times, and when the 'Tweet' button was clicked it felt like we'd arrived!

2.  We stuck with it.  We did get a lot of resistence from people around us in the beginning.  Being just the right side of 50 my peers weren't really social media types!  Understandably they saw the perils of socialising on  facebook more than the opportunities of promoting a business through twitter.  Our triumph is that we ignored the doubters and some of them are now our converts :)  

3.  The numbers.  We know that volume's often seen as vanity, but for us, at least at first, it was a numbers game.  We needed profile and that meant a large community.  As most of our community is in the North East and we connect with many of our followers offline as well as online we think it's now quality as much as quantity.  Anyway for interest's sake here are the numbers.  Over our 2 Twitter accounts @spaceontap and @colleaguesontap we have a total of 3,313 followers, mainly in the North East, we're featured on 85 lists and we've sent a total of 4,938 tweets.

4.  Brand Profile.  Space on Tap is a relatively early stage business, but through Twitter we've managed to secure a profile fairly quickly.  We often meet Twitter followers at exhibitions and events, and after only 6 months in business we were told by a follower that they thought we'd been around for at least a couple of years considering awareness of our brand.

5.  Added value for Customers.  Twitter is now embedded into our service offering - we're in the business of promoting space, so Twitter's added value to our space marketing strategy.

http://bit.ly/SpoTinTheGuardian
6.  Media Coverage.  We've had great media coverage, particularly for our Colleagues on Tap co-working days and our interest in co-working.    The Guardian described Colleagues on Tap as 'an innovative co-working project', and we've achieved significant exposure in column centimetre terms in other national and regional press from The Times to The Journal.  Although we've paid for PR in the past, and probably will in the future, on balance the impact of media finding us free through social media has far outweighed traditional paid-for methods.

7.  Trend awareness - listening.  Through Twitter we've listened, so we're increasingly understanding our marketplace.    As a result we've made changes in the business and those are ongoing.  Our interest and contribution to the co-working scene has been fed by an increased awareness of the co-working trend in the US and Europe through using social media; and our recent introduction of rented/leased space at www.spaceontap.com is as a direct result of joining the conversation on Twitter.

8.  Customer Feedback.  We've had some amazing feedback on Twitter, and as well as providing us a great feel good factor (it's good to know you're getting it right!) it's also given us the energy to keep going when times are tough!  Twitter is one of the most direct routes to listening to your customers and it's great to know that people are so generous with their comments and support for Space on Tap.

9.  Global connections.  Through Twitter and other social media, we've made connections, and had conversations, with people from as far afield as San Diego, Brussels and Prague.  This had fed our interest in bringing an international dimension to our work around co-working and developing support for the home business marketplace, and our decision to license Colleagues on Tap co-working days to help people with or without space, across the globe, to connect with homeworkers through running events through our Colleagues on Tap Associate Scheme.

10.  Adding to the team.  Last, but certainly not least, is what could be classed as our biggest triumph through Twitter.  Within 4 minutes of a tweet last year calling out for someone to help me to grow Space on Tap, I'd found Joanne, our trusty Operations Manager who has been with me ever since.  Twitter created a platform for us to connect, via a mutual follower (and Joanne's friend), and our story was then featured in Woman & Home magazine in a feature article about unique ways of finding a job, so more media profile thanks to Twitter :)

So that's it - our Top Ten Twitter Triumphs, so far ....  Through realising the impact we've had with Twitter,  we're now investing more time in extending our use of social media, and of course we're still learning all the time!

To finish, here's a quick video courtesy of Service Network with 3 top tips on using Twitter from yours truly, and if you want to know more about the who, what, where and how of Twitter from Space on Tap get in touch.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Times they are A-changing

Here at Space on Tap we've been doing lots of work behind the scenes over the past couple of months to bring you new and improved services that add value to North East businesses.  So times are a-changing ...

The first and biggest change is that we've decided that there's so much scope for Space on Tap in the North East, that's where we've decided to stay.  You may know that we'd planned to franchise our business model outside of the region, and have already had a lot of interest from around the UK, but having recognised some real opportunities to add value locally we've decided to stay put, for the time being at least.

We're putting our efforts into expanding our range of services, and making our current services even better.  More of that to come ...

This decision doesn't mean we're looking inwards, though - quite the contrary.  We hope to help you to discover space around the UK, wherever you need to travel for business, but our Space on Tap services will be strongly geared to serving the needs of North East people and businesses.

So that's change one.

Change two is that in response to requests for more permanent leased space we're also starting to feature that on spaceontap.com now too, recognising that trying to find space for rent or lease can be so time consuming and often a bit like trying to look for a needle in a haystack.  Check out our Space of the Week this week for our first example of a great place available for lease that we're featuring on www.spaceontap.com.

Change three is that you'll notice some more developments on www.spaceontap.com over the next few weeks too.  That includes some really exciting new member services - more on those soon (make sure you register free now so you can take full advantage when they happen ... :) )

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Happy@Homeworking, Guest-blogger Jane Anderson of Radio Wellbeing

Jane Anderson, Radio Wellbeing
Thank you to Jane Anderson of Radio Wellbeing for providing our first guest blog.  Jane is a consultant and writer in environmental wellness; she helps organisations to create happier and healthier working environments to improve their productivity.


In this guest blog Jane explores the home office space as a working environment as part of a series of writings on the theme of Happy@Homeworking.  You can also read Jane's recent article '15 ways to make your home-office a happy workplace' if you want to find out more!


Workspace is changing
Power-napping, hot-desking, brand rooms, humour policy, office concierge, duvet days. No longer viewed as cranky or even cutting edge these concepts and many more like them are increasingly becoming accepted and adopted by businesses interested in attracting and retaining people who want, and need, more than financial inducement to work effectively.


Right now with resources and capacity stretched to capacity, everyone needs to work harder and smarter. In order to gain that extra ‘discretionary energy’ from their workforce, employers must think differently about the conditions they offer around ‘The Job’ itself. Many of the improvements they are making are environmental and are as relevant and advantageous - if not more so - to people based at home as to those in the traditional workplace.

People work better when they feel happy and comfortable in their surroundings
Home, lone, remote or agile workers, be they entrepreneurs or out-based employees, often work out of cramped and cluttered spaces inappropriate to their needs. This supports neither personal health nor business acuity but they need to look out for their own wellbeing because, frankly, no one else will.

In terms of workspace design, many people working from home are often grateful simply for a dedicated desk and a clear view of the door. Sometimes this restrictive scenario is self-imposed with people not allowing themselves time to reflect on how to make best use of space and time in their workspace. More usually physical circumstances determine how we will work in our home work space and it may not be as fit for purpose as one would prefer.

Whatever the home-based working situation, many of the ‘added-value’ ideas incorporated by larger organisations to make life at work more attractive to employees can easily be adapted to the home setting regardless of the individual limitations involved.

The trend in offices and administration centres, particularly creative design studios, has been for doing away with ‘claimed’ work space, or the individually ‘owned’ desk, in favour of mobility: lockers for personal bits and pieces and interchangeable laptop sites that enable workers to sit down virtually anywhere and pick up where they left off.

Much of the rationale behind this is to encourage increased flexibility in terms of thinking, communication and production. It allows workers to chose the space most apt to their specific need at any given point during the day – be it a touch-down area for impromptu discussion or a chill-out room for a few minute’s peace. It creates an opportunity for new perspective and keeps people fresh and on the ball which in the still-active business war for creativity is crucial. This design policy has been implemented less for altruistic motives than as sound business strategy. People work better when they feel happy and comfortable in their surroundings. It therefore it makes sense to provide an environment that fosters such a response.

The paperless home-office?
These days with aid of technology your office can be pretty much anywhere you want it to be. Homeworkers need not be tied to the home but can and should up-sticks and get out to pubs, cafes, park benches etc not just to meet people or co-work, but also to work in alone, in solitude in varied and inspiring surroundings. We can do it; thousands can’t, so make the most of this aspect of your work.

Back home however, which is where most homeworkers tend to gravitate to take stock, the setting is frequently less than inspiring; perhaps a desk or table with the usual accoutrements including a toy, coffee mug (dirty?) and post-it notes to complete the panorama. 

Even more mundane is the fact that the vast majority of people still do not operate from a paperless office. The homeworker in particular seems prone to paper hoarding, despite the fact that they probably couldn’t work from home in the first place without the use of a computer which was theoretically mean to assuage this problem years ago. This doubling up of virtual storage and paper causes clutter overload and unnecessary stress in many home work spaces.   

Happy@Homeworking - don't sell yourself short
Remember to enjoy your environmental freedom. Relish the fact that your homework space estranges you from regimented time constrictions, strict dress codes and d├ęcor dictats. You are the architect of your own workspace. Don’t sell yourself short by skimping on the place where you spend the bulk of your day. Ultimately, your working environment should support, rather than deplete you. 



You can also read Jane's recent article '15 ways to make your home-office a happy workplace' if you want to find out more about being Happy@Homeworking.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Where do you need space on tap?

At Space on Tap we're continually expanding the Perfect Places Directory at www.spaceontap.com.

Please CLICK HERE to complete our 30 second survey at  to tell us where you most need space on tap.

Thank you for your help in ensuring you can find your perfect place at www.spaceontap.com

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Winning New Business: Developing your Digital Footprint through Social Media

Space on Tap has developed its use of social media since we started the business mid-2010.  Twitter has become our main social media vehicle, and to an extent LinkedIn and YouTube.  We're now developing our presence on Facebook and have 3 Blogs underway talking about space that's available on tap, Colleagues on Tap co-working events and co-working.

We're really delighted to have been asked recently by Service Network to contribute to their forthcoming event 'Winning New Business: Developing your Digital Footprint through Social Media' which is taking place on 13th October at Gateshead College (a venue we're looking forward to experiencing!  We'll be talking through how Space on Tap has tangibly benefited from the adoption of social media within our marketing approach, and some of the lessons we've learned along the way.  


Refer to Space on Tap when you book and the usual price of £45 for non-members will be discounted to only £10!  CLICK HERE TO BOOK

Mark Easby of BETTER will be the main speaker at the event, and we're really looking forward to hearing his expert input into why and how we can continue to improve our Digital Footprint; how to participate, listen, and critically how to measure impact - all great for planning our social media strategy moving forward.

Dude Pointing

Service Network is also keen to engage other people and businesses in the event who have gained from use of social media, so if you have a Twitter tale or a Facebook fable to tell get in touch with Sarah Thackray at Service Network to reveal all!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Space on Tap at the first Northumberland Supplier Expo 19th July

Space on Tap will be at the 1st Northumberland Supplier Expo on Tuesday 19th July.

Organised by Northumberland College, the event will take place at Kirkley Hall in Northumberland - a stunning location.  As well as exhibiting on the day, and meeting with all of our followers, members and associates, we're also speaking at 10.30 about one of our favourite topics, Co-working, and why it's good for small and home-based businesses.






This is a free to attend event running from 10 am until 4 pm.

Come and find us on the day and enter our free draw to have a chance to win a great book 'Go Global' by Enterprise Nation's Emma Jones, featuring lots of home-based businesses that are trading across the world, many from their kitchen tables!  Or opt for a free place at our Colleagues on Tap co-working day at Shepherds Dene Retreat Centre in Ridings Mill in September.

For more information contact claire.baker@northland.ac.uk or call her Clare on 01670 841268