A Room of One’s Own 2

Last week was quietly momentous. It wasn’t planned, nor were there champagne corks popping but we made a decision we had been chewing over for some time – Freshspace may be ready to venture from the kitchen table to its very own office space.

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and certainly of the two of us I was always the most eager for us to have our own office. Although this was more to do with my own preconception about working from home than for any practical reason.

Until Freshspace I had spent most of my working life sitting on a swivel chair with lumber pump action, at a desk which was solely intended for work and the occasional dusting of crumbs. Working from home always appealed but it was more to do with getting the washing in if it rained or being able to go for a nap when the mid afternoon lull hits. It was a fanciful idea that I didn’t necessarily think I’d come to realise.

I know many people that work from home. All of them with a slightly different interpretation of what that means. Some truly do work in their pyjamas, others lock themselves away studiously and free from distraction for the extent of the working day. In fact I have many, many stories I could tell you about people I know who work from home that are verging on a little reckless but I don’t think I’d ever be forgiven (only a couple include beer at lunch). What I do know is however they work they get the job done.

Seeing myself in that environment and getting the job done didn’t strike me as quite so plausible, meaning our own office space was always on my radar and in my mind, pivotal to Freshspace’s success.

However, the right time to explore the possibility has only just arrived so last week we decided to dip our toe in the water and start to evaluate what’s out there.

Now I’m a whole other kind of apprehensive.

For over a year working from home has worked. We’ve developed new routines, an unhealthy reliance on our own amenities (I mean you, coffee machine) and a relaxed but productive way of working. An office suddenly seems a little daunting and we’ve really had to think about how best it could work for us in practice.

With not so much a lack of office space in Kendal, but a lack of space we feel is suitable for us and the notorious local politics around business rates we are in no rush. It has to be right and that is becoming clearer by the day.

Currently we live and work in a property which dates back to the 1800s and has floors at such a variety of angles that simply crossing the room makes us feel drunk (we feel this can only stimulate creativity). Working in an office environment which lacks character or doesn’t fit in personality is not an option.

In fact it needs a lot more than character. It needs a comfortable place other than a desk from where we can work. It seems some of our most positive moments as a business have come from working on the couch. But that’s just one of many things:

  • It needs to be in walking distance because we don’t want any real form of a commute and sometimes we will want to retreat home
  • Given myself and Darren’s take on all things old it will probably need to be rickety and not quite fit for purpose in some way but also utterly charming. Or I could follow the trend and say we’re simply looking for a ‘good, creative space’
  • It will need to be furnished with a top notch coffee machine and stocked to the rafters with quality beans
  • It will need space for Bryn and the kids where they can spread out and be welcome…but also not a complete hindrance
  • It would be nice if our office neighbours were as present and friendly as our neighbours at home. When there’s only two of you it’s sometimes nice to run into people who break up the day a little
  • It needs room for us to grow but we also don’t want to rattle around

This is what’s important to us. And as we work from somewhere which is so fitting with us individually and as a business already, it’s not a decision we want to force. In the meantime we will continue working from somewhere we love and which feels tranquil, somewhere which naturally offers us the headspace we need. Because any office we take on has to fit that bill too. Freshspace has become such an extension of ourselves and our family that any home we give it also needs to feel like an extension of our home.

In time the right place will come up and when it does we’ll dive right out of our relaxation pods, slide down our helter skelter and land spectacularly in our custom made ball pool.

Article by Eilidh Nicholls