I did have a little office space, upstairs in our smallest room. There’s a chandelier on the floor waiting to be refurbished and a lovely g-plan wardrobe that’s really too big and smells of cigars. I could shut myself away, but often felt a bit isolated in there.
By day, I’m a people-person and need interaction. I like to bounce ideas around and enjoy being sociable. But I need quiet, down-time too, to focus. Particularly when I’m in ‘flow’. This is why I need to be freelance – I do my best work when I work in the way that suits me best.
Part-time co-working is probably the best approach for me. Working with fellow creatives that enjoy sharing a great cup of coffee and can tell me when an idea is bonkers, but who are also ultimately there to focus on work (which also encourages me to buckle down). I find it inspiring to be around ideas and enthusiasm.
On top of the people, I need the right environment. In a previous incarnation as a Financial Advisor, I worked long hours in a bank. My office was in the basement. In the winter, I would arrive in the dark and leave in the dark. I would often have back-to-back meetings throughout the day and not break even for a cuppa. I KNOW. Thank goodness I don’t have to do that anymore.
The bank was furnished with generic, thin carpets and slightly padded partition walls. Grey, pale blue and navy. Chipped skirting and loose door handles. There were no windows. It was sincerely depressing. In every way.
I believe we are like flowers (bear with me). We need air and light and nutrients. I work best in good light. In a comfortable chair, with good coffee and a nice sunny spot to take a break in. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune and there’s no need for Farrow and Ball. Just a tidy, clean space with a good chair and desk and good light.
So I turfed our language students out of our downstairs, spare/would-have-been-a-dining-room and made it into a lovely co-working/workshop space. I bought a new coffee machine and invited people I am working for and with to come and join me. I will run my workshops there and have invited a couple of small businesses to use it in return skills swaps too.
I’m absolutely thrilled with it and have been much more productive. I will combine working here with working with clients in their home (which I love too). And am flirting with a day at The Skiff too for when I’m over in Brighton one day a week.
There are still challenges and I am mindful of earmarking working days on the diary and ignoring the piles of washing and nagging thoughts about dinner and shopping. There have been times when I have had friends working here and I have fallen down the rabbit hole of domesticity. But altogether its working and so I’m working and it’s all good.