HORIZON WEST In an age when 84% of American households own a computer and technology is so seamlessly integrated into the workforce, telecommuting has become increasingly prominent.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, “50% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework.” Additionally, 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time.
Although working from home offers flexibility, it has its downfalls, including a lack of socialization and opportunities to network and connect with others.
In Horizon West, ScribbleSpace is a co-working space where people who are self-employed or who telecommute can go to work. ScribbleSpace owner Cynthia Dailey decided to form a networking group for those who work from home to give them a chance to meet other people and connect on both personal and professional levels.
The group, called Horizon West Home Office Dwellers Unite, is open to small-business professionals who work from a home office in or near Horizon West. Home-office dwellers are encouraged to meet for a luncheon once per week to get out of the house and spend time learning and networking with others. They also can gather tips for business and professional improvement.
Shanny Rios is a mother of six who works at ScribbleSpace and runs the Lakefront Farmer’s Market and Food Truck Nights in Summerport Village, as well as her own company, eSCENTials Bath, Body & Home. As the office manager for ScribbleSpace, she coordinates the weekly luncheons. The group has been meeting once a week each Thursday since June.
“Previously, we hosted a creative meet-up that occurred on Fridays and realized that with family commitments and schedules, a luncheon would be more beneficial,” Rios said. “We also offer lunch delivered by Mindful Meal Delivery, or they can brown-bag it. Anyone in the local area is invited for the luncheon, and they do not necessarily have to work out of ScribbleSpace.”
The official Facebook group currently has more than 140 members, and Rios said there is a good rotation of those who are able to come to the weekly luncheons. At each luncheon, there is generally a topic of discussion relating to the small-business and professional worlds.
Rios said members include a freelance writer, medical consultants, web designers, marketing professionals, a blogger, health coaches, “solopreneurs” and those in other careers spanning many industries.
“Friendships are most definitely made, along with social interactions outside of the luncheon,” she said. “Home-office isolation can actually hinder productivity. By coming to the weekly lunch meet-up, it is an hour of adult face-to-face contact with both social and professional benefits.”
The group also is launching another initiative, PossibilitiesYou, which will provide training classes, health and self-care workshops and other tools to help businesses succeed.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected]