Colleagues flood in for ‘office’ get-together

The Colleagues on Tap Christmas party.
The Colleagues on Tap Christmas party.

More than 80 home-based business owners got to enjoy a joint office Christmas party last week – thanks to an innovative support network.

Colleagues on Tap allows those who work from home to enjoy going into ‘the office’ for the day with fellow small-business owners at venues across the North East.

Jayne Graham.

Jayne Graham.

The organisation held its Christmas party last Wednesday at Clavering House, in Newcastle Business Village, which meant the home workers could enjoy the best of the annual office festive party without the office politics.

Avril Scott, a strategic marketing and business development consultant of Foxton, near Alnwick, said: “It’s great to have an office Christmas party to come to and meet like-minded people from a wide range of professions.”

Simone Neri, who runs Sefton House self-catering, in Alnmouth, said: “You can nip down on the train and enjoy the party, but you’re sharing it with like-minded people. It’s great.”

Launched in 2010, Colleagues on Tap is the brainchild of Jayne Graham, 48, a business coach and the former chief executive of Business Link County Durham.

Colleagues sign up for co-working days and bring in their laptop, have On the Spot topical conversations, enjoy lunch and the usual office banter, meaning they have access to the best bits of office life many miss when they run their business from home.

Today, the venues have grown to include Durham, Stockton, Newcastle, Consett and Benton with business owners typically joining around 10 colleagues in an office for the day.

The network is proving very popular – Jayne has more than 150 businesses regularly attending her events and is putting on two more Colleagues on Tap co-working days at Alnmouth and Redcar in the New Year, which will be run by designated hosts.

Jayne, who runs Colleagues on Tap from her home in Low Fell, Gateshead, has had inquiries from across the UK to set up more co-working days.

“I love working from home, it’s flexible and you have cheaper costs, but it’s great to have a network of people I can see regularly who aren’t my customers or suppliers,” she said.

For more information, log onto www.colleaguesontap.com