A Better Nest Opens in the North East

Perhaps the best part of working for myself is that I get to choose where I work. Depending what appears on the to-do list, altering my location and environment can really help productivity. So I’ve built up a mental catalogue of public and private places and what sort of work they are best suited to. However I’ve not updated you on any of my offices for years, back when CDCEA Nest existed, and sadly I can attribute clear reasons why that failed. On the plus side, last week I heard about the very unrelated Low Fell Nest.

The activities of each floor in Low Fell Nest

The activities of each floor in Low Fell Nest

To me Low Fell is a place the bus drives through between Chester-le-Street and Gateshead, but I’m told it was screaming out to have a place for digital freelancers and also new parents. The Nest starts with a front door wide enough for a pushchair and opens into a cafe with all that is needed to make it popular with the 20ish toddlers and babies there when I visited on Monday. To please us older folk the standard hot drink offerings, plus sandwiches and even hot breakfast buns. I was foolish/restrained enough not to try a cake while there, but I they look so good that I should return. Grabbing my coffee, and sneaking through a door upstairs, I saw the first floor had a kitchenette with microwave and kettle if I brought my own supplies. This floor also has empty rooms that great used for various parent-child group activities.

Another flight of steps curves up into the loft. The crazy noise of the cafe is just a memory, and the office wifi is a separate network so I was assured it won’t be swamped when all the toddlers stream Peppa Pig at once. I didn’t do any strenuous network work (like downloading data or uploading a website) and I forgot to run a speed test as I usually do. Di who runs the space was kind enough to share the results of speedtest.net with me. 35.4 Mbs down(brilliant standard we should expect now); and 5.7 Mbs up (typical lower rate, and still good); ping 17ms (brilliant, shouldn’t find the connection drops or hangs between transfers of any sort).

Thankfully head-height isn’t a problem, yet it has a cosy nest vibe about it. People are already using the space so you’re not alone, I got a great welcome and chance to introduce myself & business. I found it to have the perfect balance of heads-down and occasional comment on a news story or request for comments on someone’s work brainstorming designs. Table space was ample although flexible, in addition there is a sofa in a snug corner and standing-desk at the window to stretch your legs in different ways.

While the cafe and event/group rooms have been open since November, the top floor opened this week. Bit-by-bit they’ll work out if anything should be added to the room, but it’s clear it will be what the users of the room make it. Already there is a visitors/feedback book so suggestions can be noted. All floors of the Low Fell Nest are run as a Community Interest Company(CIC) so it’s local and not about turning over the biggest margin. The standard price of £90 to use it any 10 days in a month is an ideal format. With that bargain, I would sign up right away if I lived nearby. However if you have different requirements on use, it’s worth getting in touch with Di to have a chat – or pop in to see the space!

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