A new co-working space will open in the centre of Haslemere this summer to meet a growing need for workspace near home which has evolved as a result of changes in work habits.
HasleWorks, located in a classic building just off the High Street at 2 – 4 Petworth Road, is the initiative of a group of local residents and is launching in response to research that indicates an increased demand to work close to home.
Over the past year, 67% of workers1 have welcomed not having to commute every day, and 61% report a better work life balance2. Similarly, employers have seen that home working can work and companies including HSBC³ and BT4 have already announced plans to significantly reduce their office space.
However, almost 1/5 5 of those who have had to work from home during this time rate their home workspace as poor, with unreliable WiFi, distractions and a lack of a dedicated space to work at home amongst the reasons. Also mentioned are missing the community and companionship6 that come with office working.
‘Hybrid Working’7 – whereby fewer people will go into a central office every day and will spend more time working from home – is set to be the future, and there are calls for Government to support this8.
There will also be increased demand for flexible, practical and comfortable workspace close to home – including for a proportion of the 3000 daily commuters9 from Haslemere station pre-Covid – and this has led to the introduction of HasleWorks.
The founders of HasleWorks – who are local residents Helen, Matthew and Dom Bowcock, Kate Bradford and Paul Edwards – intend that the enterprise will contribute to the social and economic recovery of Haslemere following an extraordinary year. In addition to providing local people with convenient and modern workspace close to home, the initiative will encourage business for local shops and cafes by enabling more people to work in the town centre. Importantly, any profits raised by HasleWorks will be donated to local charitable causes.
Helen Bowcock said:
“Haslemere is an amazing place to live, surrounded by beautiful National Trust land with an old and picturesque town centre and a strong cultural heritage. The last year has provided many of us with an opportunity to spend much more time here and to appreciate even more the wonderful assets that the town offers.”
“As we look forward to the revival of the familiar shops, cafes and festivals it is becoming clear that some things may have changed and that the five day per week commute to London may, for some at least, be a thing of the past. As working arrangements change, there is growing demand for shared workspace for people who want the benefits of remote working but don’t want to turn their home into a permanent place of work, and we are launching HasleWorks to help meet this need.”
Located in a period property at the heart of the town, HasleWorks will provide a professional working space with all of the facilities needed to work effectively, including excellent WiFi, ergonomically designed furniture, good lighting and refreshments. The space has been planned so that people can work without interruption and find privacy when needed but also to include communal areas for collaboration and conversation. Flexible packages will allow people to use HasleWorks every day, occasionally or on a regular basis.
A programme of events for all members will provide opportunities to network, to share expertise and to learn more about the local community.
The central location of HasleWorks will draw customers to the local shops and cafes that have been so hard hit over the past year, helping to boost the local economy. Local businesses will be invited to promote their goods and services to members.
And in keeping with Haslemere Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan and its aim to reduce reliance upon cars, HasleWorks plans to provide cycle racks. The town centre location of HasleWorks will also help to reduce reliance on car transport.
HasleWorks’ founders very much hope that the initiative will help to increase a sense of belonging to the town.
Paul Edwards said:
“HasleWorks combines amenities with atmosphere. Inspired by the Arts & Crafts heritage of our town, we want to provide a satisfying place to work that brings people together, strengthening community spirit.”
“Working culture has witnessed huge change over the past year, and Covid-19 has accelerated a shift to commute less and to work closer to home. If you are looking to be able to work near home, rather than from home, HasleWorks will be delighted to welcome you!”
HasleWorks will open at 2 – 4 Petworth Road, Haslemere this summer. For further information, please visit www.hasleworks.co.uk
1, 2, 5, 6: Nationwide Building Society/Ipsos Mori The Future of Work, March 2021
8: Demos/Legal and General, Post Pandemic Places, March 2021
9: Haslemere Town Council, Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan 2013 – 2032