The decision to build a home studio has been one of the highlights of the past 18 months. It’s enabled me to continue to see clients in a safe and friendly environment… albeit from 2 meters away!
The pandemic changed so much. Our everyday lives were turned upside down in a matter of days. As the virus swept across the world we were told to stay at home. A small price to pay when you consider the lives that the virus took.
The impact on our economy was also huge. The UK government introduced the furlough scheme as well as other grants that were aimed to keep companies trading. We were lucky I suppose. As soon as the lockdown was announced my email seemed to light up. It was actually one of our busiest years. It seemed that as our clients were adjusting to home working they also got the headspace to turn their attention to projects they were always meant to get to.
Just prior to lockdown I had a few meetings scheduled to take place in our base in Glasgow. When I informed my clients that we would need to reschedule as the office was shut, they all understood as we were all experiencing the same issues. Indeed, most of my clients had already started to work from home and had no intention of holding physical meetings. The scramble seemed to be on to find new ways to communicate and hold some sort of face-to-face meetings. Enter, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
For all the positive strides I have made in business it felt as if things had either stalled or went back the way! A few years previously I had made the decision to have a permanent work base away from my home… now here I was, working out of a bedroom again! The only consolation was that everyone else was doing the same.
Adapting to a new way of working
A few months later I decided to make some changes. The biggest change was building a home studio. A space, separate from my home that was a designated workspace. A year on I still see it as being one of the best decisions I made. I also built a patio right outside the home studio in case I needed to see clients urgently. Restrictions were starting to ease but we were still encouraged to maintain a social distance. My new area allowed me to meet people outside, carry on with meetings, but adhere to social distancing protocols.
After a year of working like this, I still love it. I don’t think you can replace the buzz of working in a big city. Being about people, experiencing new things, seeing new work, and being inspired, all that had to be put on hold. The upside though is no commute in the morning, no landlord bills, no parking fees, not running the risk of contracting the virus, and still having a nice studio space to work in.
Personally, I am now aiming for a mixture of both ways of working. I will be keeping my home studio but also a base in Glasgow. I think it’s really important to have a presence in the closest city to me but that doesn’t necessarily mean I need to be there all the time… at least until the pandemic is fully over.
The impact on a designers development
The inspiration of being about other creatives has been difficult to overcome. There are some really good online communities but that doesn’t replace working in a studio. I’ve been working in the creative industry for over 20 years and I still love to see new work, hear how people have approached a project, why they took the decisions they did. The people I really feel sorry for are those who are just starting their creative careers. It’s not been so bad for me in that respect, as I have a track record behind me. I’ve served my time! The biggest learning curve for me was being a junior member of staff and being able to look over the shoulder of the senior designers. To see how they handled a project. To hear their views on design and just to see them work. I think college courses and art schools are really important in molding designers but I also think one of the most important roles they have is preparing a student to learn in the workplace. To be aware that even though you have a qualification that you still need to learn your craft. That important part in a designer’s development has been missing because during the pandemic studios had to close. There hasn’t been that same creative and learning environment.
What the future holds: Home Studio and Glasgow Base
As we continue to battle this pandemic I’ll be aiming for a mixture of home working, Zoom meetings, some face-to-face meetings, and plenty of trips into Glasgow! A couple of things that haven’t changed though are the drive and determination to continue to build my business and continue to offer my clients a fantastic creative service.
For more information about the services we offer or how we can help your business adapt to a new way of working, please call us on 0141 354 1711 or get in touch via our Contact page.