I should explain that I wrote a post from a slightly different angle on this subject, deleted it after realising it was a little misjudged, but have rejigged my idea slightly. So, here goes …

When you work at home, sometimes you need to get out, maybe see some other familiar faces, have a moan or a celebrate or a chat or just get away from that desk. But you might not want to get all dressed up and off into town for one of the myriad co-working and networking events that go on there if you live in a suburb like, for example, Kings Heath.

Meetups like Jelly, Social Media Cafe, Entrepreneurs Meetup etc. are great, but they’re once a month and you do still need to be on networking behaviour rather than hair standing on end / in tracksuit bottoms behaviour. Organisations like the Moseley Exchange are great if you want to go and co-work with other people. Not that I’m suggesting we all lurch up the High Street like a bunch of zombies, without our laptops, but I think there may be a need for a more relaxed, local get together for people who work from home / run small businesses etc.

So, here’s my idea:

  • We have a designated cafe and a designated time. Say Costa in Kings Heath, 11-12 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
  • No one HAS to be there. There’s not an organiser who’s going to be there every time. It’s just a space if people need it.
  • But that’s the time when you can go and get out of the office, see if anyone’s around, or just meet other home workers, small business people etc., not in an “impressing, networky” sort of way, but an honest “Phew – a sit down looking at a real person” sort of way. If you want to dress up, fine; if you want to show up in your pajamas, also fine.
  • There might not be anyone else there: but then at least you’ve got out of the house, and that’s something we all need to do from time to time!
  • You can send out a message on Facebook or Twitter saying you’re going and is anyone else but it’s not like begging people to come and meet you as a one-off or an overly formal arrangement, because it’s an established, informal pattern that’s already vaguely set up.

I’d love to know what you think, whether you’re local and want to give me ideas of when and where and who, or you’re not local but you’d do it if you were. Some questions to look at …

  • Where?
  • When?
  • How often?
  • Do we want to set up a Facebook group or Twitter something (hashtag, list?) to help people see who else is going?
  • Any other thoughts?

I hope this is a useful idea for people – let me know!

STOP PRESS we have a Facebook group now.

EDITED 24 AUGUST 2013:

We appear to have featured on a podcast, although I have no idea how they picked up on this rather elderly post – they are complimentary and I have got in touch to say thank you, so I thought I should provide an update:

This idea turned into a Facebook group which is solely used for arranging meetups, and a meetup at a local cafe approximately once a month. We’re made up of translators, editors and writers in the main, with a film maker too, and of course others are welcome to join. We do have a little moan over a coffee, and some of us meet up at other times, too. I also started a private Facebook group called Editors’ Rah and Argh which is a safe place for fellow editors to share things good and bad and make each other laugh and/or feel better. These and other friends I chat to on Facebook chat and Twitter give me the “water cooler” time it turns out we all need!