an online conversation
about design management


Working from home

Managing our work/life balance is difficult for most of us, juggling a successful design practice, a home, children and a part-time teaching career is pure skill.

Stephanie Ransom from Fathom&Co shares how she makes working from home work. Here's a link to Stephanie's website.

Many designers who have taken the leap into self employment have pondered the idea of working from home. There are both pros and cons to the home studio environment.

    PROS

    Consolidation of financial costs

    Reduced travel time

    Flexibility—especially if you have a young family

    Avoiding studio politics and squabbles

    Having the creature comforts of home at your finger tips

    And yes… being able to wear your moccasins while you work!

    CONS

    isolation

    too little space

    distractions from your home life

    client perception

    having clients in your home or contacting you after work hours

Keeping the cons to a minimum

  • Lecture at a tertiary institution, volunteer for a professional organisation, or create/join a professional group for people in a similar situation. This brings you in to contact with others where you can exchange ideas, get advice on technical skills, have some company—the best bits of being part of a team.
  • Use your answering machine. If clients get used to you not being available after hours they will stop calling.
  • Go to the client’s place of business for meetings. If this isn’t possible clients are more and more comfortable with meeting at cafes. If you need something more professional there are meeting spaces that you can hire.
  • If possible have a room (with a door on it) for your work space. You can shut the door on distractions whether they be people or dirty dishes.
  • Have a routine. Sticking to start and finishing times whenever possible will mean that you will work more efficiently. This also creates boundaries so that work doesn’t take over your life.

The home studio option is not for everyone. However, if managed well, the flexibility it offers and the elimination of some of the stresses of working elsewhere, can really bring to the forefront a lot of the benefits of being self employed.

 

CM

managing a home design studio