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The work-life balance in the country

Tags: Magazines Rural

How to blend a successful working life with a move to the country is often at the forefront of peoples’ minds as they pursue the lifestyle property quest. Country magazine talked to some of the lucky New Zealanders who have mastered the work-life dy


Around the country, innovative and entrepreneurial kiwi business people are finding that they can indeed have the best of both worlds: a productive and fruitful business career, with the benefit of working from or within easy reach of home – despite their semi-rural or urban fringe location.

Following a move from Wellington to Central Hawke’s Bay with her partner and three children to return to home roots and be closer to family, marketing consultant Alexandra Walker recently opened The Chook House, a co-working space designed to motivate and inspire small business owners and freelancers.

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“When working from home in Waipukurau, I realised that although I did not miss the politics of working in a large office, I did miss working around other people,” says Walker.

“After much thought and investigation, I found numerous other professionals and business owners who were working from home, working alone, and struggling with Internet connectivity - amongst other things.

“I was aware of other ‘hot desking’ type arrangements in big cities that worked for contractors, and had also found out about a collective type co-working space that was having some success in Nelson, but I don’t know of any other rural-based ventures like this.”

Walker’s vision was to evolve a safe, professional and productive space where like-minded business professionals could get together, meet, work and problem-solve together.

“Although the business was not set up specifically for women, the branding has certainly resonated with them, and the majority of my main tenants are working mums,” explains Walker, laughing that The Chook House name is a dig on the noise that a group of women can make at morning tea time.

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“In our rural area, people don't necessarily identify themselves as entrepreneurs. They are focussed on creating opportunities for themselves in an area where there are not many large employers.

“A growing number of highly educated and intelligent people are taking the risk of creating their own destiny in a small town, while enjoying the rural lifestyle to live and bring up their children.

“The Chook House gives us the benefits of a larger business or population, but enables us to still maintain our rural lifestyle and our own business independence.”

Tenants of The Chook House can be permanent or casual with the building offering flexible-sized spaces dependant on the job at hand.

“All spaces are provided on a full service arrangement where furnishings, electricity, cleaning, security, phone, Wifi internet access and tea and coffee are included,” explains Walker, adding that costs start at a casual $10 per hour, with full use of all facilities, to full time occupancy which can end up less than $4 per hour.

Walker says most of the businesses currently using The Chook House are technology and farming oriented. They include Agrecord which specialises in a cloud-based farm management system, Farmdogs.co.nz which has an online database for buying and selling farm dogs, and a web and user-interface developer Devol which works on web solutions for businesses around the North Island... Read the full article here.

This article is from the latest Country Magazine.

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