Co-working comes to Upper Hutt

Natalie Sisson and Coworking Upper Hutt's early steps:  "This
reduces the burdens of long commutes, increases ...
PHOTO: COLIN WILLIAMS/STUFF

Natalie Sisson and Coworking Upper Hutt's early steps: "This reduces the burdens of long commutes, increases productivity and has a positive impact on engagement and well-being at work.''

Co-working is up and key stroking away in Upper Hutt.

A small and enthusiastic number of locals have taken advantage of three co-worker days, organised by Natalie Sisson, a self-styled business entrepreneur and an experienced co-worker.

The system allows people who would usually work from home to come in and work in a shared space.

"Doing business can be lonely and when you collaborate and connect with others it's just so much better. The whole idea is to bring bright, creative people together and to let their ideas collide," Sisson said.

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A fourth and, for the time being, final trial day takes place on Thursday  at 12 Railway Terrace, in a first floor space made available by Jo Muggeridge, the owner of The Strictly Savvy virtual assistant service.

The previous days – big storms and school holidays not withstanding – have attracted about a dozen people which has been enough to further encourage Sisson there is a future for the initiative. 

"We're also hoping for a good turnout on Thursday, we've probably put the word out a bit better for this one," Sisson said.

Co-working is all about "remote workers" having the ready option to move out of their home office or usual work space and working alongside other people in the same situation.

Co-working is established worldwide and there are established spaces in Petone and Johnsonville and with BizDojo  in Wellington.

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"This is still a relatively new thing in New Zealand but I think people are curious," Sisson said..

"Jo and I just think Upper Hutt needs a community co-working space," she said. "Approximately 70 per cent of people in work here go off to town. 

"Co-working reduces the burdens of long commutes, increases productivity and has a positive impact on engagement and well-being at work.

"It would be great to talk to the Government Ministries about how they might be able to fit with our having a space here."

Sisson is now Maymorn based after several years running her business The Suitcase Entrepreneur "around the world using a laptop, wifi and a variety of cafes and co-working spaces". 

Upper Hutt's co-working future will partly depend on finding the right location at the right cost.

Sisson thinks a space, run on a subscription user basis and accommodating up to 50 people, might be ideal.

"Overseas there has been the rise of the Smarthubs, collaborative community based working spaces which is more the model we're after here I think.

"A couple of people [at the trial] said what was different about being here is the like-minded people you are surrounded by. You simply can't get that working in isolation or a normal office space."

* To find out more: natalie@nataliesisson.com

 - Stuff

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