Durban entrepreneur, Kate Snell, founded The Office as part of her Project #BringDadHome initiative. Pictures: Supplied

Kate Snell started Project #BringDadHome as an exit strategy for her husband who is working away from home. Marchelle Abrahams chats to her.

Fuelled by passion and purpose, Kate Snell is a woman whose single mission is to bring her husband home for good.

For 14 years Quintin Snell has been working offshore as a commercial diver.

“Our family was born in this circumstances. Initially it was just him and me, and you just accept that’s how it is,” says the Durban-based mom of 2.

But their priorities started changing when the children came along. “It became tricky. He missed their first milestones; and it became really hard to justify: is the money good enough?,” she openly admits.

Two years in the making, the couple came up with their exit strategy for Quintin. Dubbed Project #BringDadHome, she had taken her UKZN BCom Marketing and Economics degree and tackled the initiative with a passion and one, clear goal.

“It became evident that Quintin wasn’t happy going back to work. He was only home for 4 weeks at a time, and there was always the dreaded countdown to the airport drop off.” They realised that they had to make a change for the sake of their family.

“The lightbulb moment came in mid-2016 when we moved to our new home in Glenwood,” Kate recalls.

The Snell family are trying everything in their power to bring dad Quintin back home.

“The place had no internet access. All of a sudden I was running from coffee shop to coffee shop trying to get some work done.”

At the time, she was juggling being a single parent and running her nanny placement agency. And then the thought formed: “If only there was a professional place I could go for just a day to sort out my email, print candidate CVs and conduct interviews.”

Now in its eight month, The Office is a shared co-working space in Morningside.

The pride in Kate’s voice is evident as she gushes that they just had a few months to set everything up. “Quintin and I researched it and found that there weren’t enough communal share offices in the immediate area. I wanted to give people access, especially startups with little or no money,” she adds.

This compression chamber is where Quintin live for a month at a time - with 5 other guys.

Popular with freelancers, digital nomads, consultants and creatives, the facility is a thriving thinktank, thanks to the venue’s uncapped wifi, flexibility of access and hot desks.

Kate felt the need to create an environment that feels like a well-managed home office.

Situated in Innes Road, they converted an old building, but still with the creature comforts. “My concept for The Office is for people to come and work for a couple of hours, get stuff done and then go for a surf afterwards.”

Inadvertently, Kate’s entrepreneurial spirit has put her in contact with like-minded people. “I find inspiration daily just from the people that I come into contact with - ordinary, authentic people with extraordinary stories for determination, vision, tenacity and perseverance in the face of great odds,” she says.

And then there’s the impact it’s had on local business. She is happy to report that The Office is making a positive impact and helping drive meaningful change among non-corporates in the vicinity.

* Visit The Office website for more info: www.theoffice97.co.za