In these winter months when my studio is basically arctic conditions and my duvet is like a giant king size marshmallow, it takes a large degree of discipline to get out of bed and work from the office. Since I started doing anything that resembled running a business, I have explores most of the options available I have a pretty good comparison list of what makes a good working environment and how this reflects in my productivity levels. I wanted to share with you what I consider the best and worst parts of all of them, to help you choose where you should be.This is a fantastic blog post by Nubby Twiglet about working from a space which isn't your home, inspired this post.
Where: Worked from home on the kitchen table
When: First few months of starting my business
This is probably how most people start out when they decide they want to start a business. Studios aren't cheap and when you're just setting up and to keep costs to a minimum, it can make sense to work from your house. For me, it was a a great starting point but I quickly realised it wasn't going to work out long term...
- You don't have to travel far to start work therefore more time for actually working
- There are readily available snacks and tea making
- It's free (or included in rent!)
- You don't have to dress smart/ get dressed at all!
- Loneliness - it's important to have people to bounce ideas off and ask advice, especially if you don't know them and they can be impartial. Networking is so important and holed up in your kitchen you don't get that.
- Distraction - the washing needs hanging out, the dishwasher needs, making a sandwich.... there are so many distraction in your domestic environment. Not to mention if you have a partner or children that are also hovering around a lot asking questions..
- If you're just working with a laptop then this is a viable option but, if like me when I started TVBC, you'll have equipment and a lot of 'stuff'. I had guillotines, paper and old books and this is the main reason I had to think about getting somewhere else (Or your partner may demand that the kitchen be used for meals again instead of a glue station)
Where: A desk at a co-working drop in space (The Classroom)
When: 4 months last year after I decided option 1 wasn't working!
These drop in spaces are getting more and more common and are a really good resource for people who are working for themselves and want *some* company. I paid £30 a month for a space at The Classroom, which had a fridge, tea station, loo and small meeting area. I met some really great people (some who I actually went on to do some work for) and it was a good stepping stone to getting out the house, but not committing to a studio.
- Social! You can meet and network with people.
- It gets you out the house, helping you differentiate between 'work' and 'home'
- It's cheap!
- One month cancellation notice meaning you're not tied into any contracts
- You feel *slightly* more professional (This was important to me! I felt like I was getting somewhere slightly from upgrading my kitchen table and it turn it made me act more professionally)
- Most of these places aren't open 24 hours and you can't leave anything in them over night. This might be a problem if you're still doing a 9-5pm job and most of your work is going to be done in the evening, meaning you need somewhere you can access after this time.
- You do just get a small desk space. Most people at The Classroom came in with only their laptops, whereas I came in with scissors, paper, glue, big rolls of buckram... generally making a mess and taking up lots of room isn't encouraged.
Where: Home office
When: When I moved into a larger house with a spare room
- It's not quite your kitchen table but it's still very close meaning you don't have any travel time, or extra over heads.
- It's a separate space from the rest of the house meaning you can contain your 'work' to the office.
- It is still quite distracting being in the house, and most of the things I wrote for 'working from the table' still apply.
- Also I appreciate not everyone has a spare room in their house!
Where: Separate solo studio - AWOL Studio Manchester
When: March 2014-Oct 2014
- It's totally separate from your house and domestic life
- Having a professional work space really does drive you to work harder and 'get on with it'!
- You can also decorate and organise as you like.
- I had chairs and a table in mine too meaning I could have clients over and meetings.
- My contract was on a rolling month to month meaning it was very flexible.
- This was £95 for my half of the rent, so not pennies and that was very reasonable compared to other studio spaces.
- It was sometimes quite isolating working in a room by myself, and I often wouldn't speak to anyone all day!
Where: Shared studio space - BV Studios, Bristol
When: October 2014 - Current!
The main reason I chose a shared studio space when making the move to bristol is pretty simple; the price and availability. Studios in Bristol are a lot pricier than up north and I didn't want to be forking out £150+ a month. Also the studio I have is very conveniently less than ten minutes away from my house! I'm really enjoying being around other people, even if it's just someone to say 'Hi' to in the morning when you come in, it's nice to know there's other people about.
- I feel more productive! Knowing that there are other people around you also working means you're less likely to wander off and procrastinate
- No distractions
- Separate work space - you can leave your work at the office when you leave
- 24 hour, secure access, close to bus and train routes.
- Reasonably priced - I pay £82 per month + electric.
- Very occasionally it can be disruptive having other people working around you, being on calls etc
This has actually been very good for me to look back on how far I've come from the kitchen table days! It can be overwhelming to think about where you want to be and how far away from that you might be, that sometimes we forget to measure our progress, which is so important.
One day I want my own, big studio with enough room to house a messy desk for binding (hopefully two when I can take on another binder!) and a 'clean' desk for photography and editing. But the fact that I'm closer to having that I was when I started, makes me very happy.