Still struggling to find a creative work space?

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When you take the leap for working for yourself, it can feel like the best thing since sliced bread. You get to set your own hours, spend more time with your family, and not have to put up with any of the office politics that can come from working in an agency.

However, as we all know, the rose tinted glasses can soon come off when we’re working more hours than we intended, and we simply can’t unplug from the work.

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So what really is best? Working from home or renting a separate office space? The truth is, as much time and effort you’ve put into setting up your business, you need to put just as much thought into the space that is going to become your creative hub.


Know your ways

It’s probably the hardest part of the process, but knowing how you work best and what keeps you ticking is going to play a key role in understanding what you need from a work space.

From experience you’ll know what you like and dislike about working environments, so make a list and use this in working out what you would like in an ideal world.

If you struggle to set a routine for yourself or disconnect at the end of the day, perhaps ‘hot desking’ somewhere outside of your home is going to give you better motivation.

There are now many ‘digital hubs’ in cities across the world that provide a space for creatives to come together and use a space that isn’t at home.

These spaces not only provide a routine destination for work and enable you to switch off, but they can also help you to push out any creative blocks that you stumble across. With other likeminded creatives at arms-length away, you can pick the brains of your peers and not feel as though you’re stuck in a creative rut.

After all, if you’re working on your own, life can get pretty lonely, and having others to grab lunch with or help you hammer out a campaign can prove a far healthier alternative than hiding away at home.

Of course no-one is telling you that working with others is the way it has to be, if you prefer to work on your own accept that and find a space that you can immerse yourself without distractions.

Home or office?

There are pro’s and con’s for whether you want to work at home or in an office.

At home you have little overhead costs, and you can become a helping hand with the family. But it can be a struggle to leave work alone, and you can find yourself working all hours. But problems can also be found if you decide to work from an office.

Web Designer Nicole Brooker from The Website Angel explained that, “An office space is a no-distraction creative hub. Though unfortunately there are downsides. Clients often just pop their head in for a cup of tea at odd times, so you do get distracted when you’re in ‘the zone’ which is a nightmare”.

If you have a network of creatives within your area, gain as much advice from them as possible, and see if any of them have similar ways of working to you, that could help you understand what it is that you need, or even recommend destinations.

City or country?

If you do look to rent office space somewhere, then the problem doesn’t just stop there. The costs differ dramatically to the area, depending on whether you want to be city based or have a location in the country.

Although cost will dominate this choice, look at the overall picture of your work/life balance. There are many reasons to move to a city as commuting can be far easier, and if your clients are local it can work as a great place for them to come and visit you or you to them.

But it can also be an inspiration to your work, and give you a social life, as bars and restaurants are close by. The country can give you more for your money when it comes to your space, and can be a great distraction free area for those that want to get away from the buzz of the city. There’s no right or wrong for either destination, and once again it’s how you envisage your work and life.

Are you someone to meet clients for lunch? Or would you prefer to be able to take a nice walk on your break?

Set Limits

No matter the space you decide to choose, for your own wellbeing it’s essential for you to set yourself limits so that work does not become your life.

Stuart Elmore from Digital Gravy spoke from experience of the struggles and commented that, ”For the first 6 months I found it hard to separate myself from my work, both mentally and physically. By having my desk (and work) at arm’s reach from the rest of my life I found that I would consistently end up working 60 or 70 hour weeks, working early in the morning until late at night and taking up my weekend. This put huge strain on my relationships with my family and friends, since I’d spend so much time working, or rather: believing I should be working. I ended up neglecting relationships and even losing touch with some of my closest friends”.

Many experts have suggested that if you do work from home, set yourself the same routine that you would if you were working at a separate office, to trick your brain into ‘coming home’, take a walk after you’ve finished your work for the day to get off work and make it believe that you’re coming home. Switch off the emails and the phone, and separate yourself, otherwise clients will believe you’re at their every beck and call.

Getting your workspace right will not only benefit your work, but also benefit your overall life.

If you’re not happy in the space you’re in, how are you meant to feel comfortable and inspired enough to create the best work to your clients?