It's been two years to the day since the first Covid Lockdown began. At the time I considered myself very lucky, for The Birdbox (my very own little isolation booth) had just been built, and whilst lots of 'finishing' was still needed (and still is!) it was good enough to set-up shop and continue working. It would be months before the internal decorating and exterior landscaping would be finished as building materials quickly ran scarce and the sale of paint and paintbrushes was deemed illegal!
Regardless, the design work I had in the pipeline was tended to, and the space doubled as a school classroom and 'somewhere else to go' during the many months that followed. Situated, unusually, at the front of my little house, overlooking the garden, The Birdbox (as I call it) is an ideal space to incubate ideas, enable them to grow and eventually sit back and watch as they take flight.
Many years ago when I started the business, I worked from home in an upstairs bedroom. After three years I rented a big old barn conversion at Spring Farm (formerly Moorlynch Vineyard) and was there for 6 or 7 years before then sharing premises in the centre of town.
So now I'm exploring the best of both, a dedicated space at home but not in the house. I'm in the countryside, but very near town. No longer am I constantly 'heading out' in the car at all sorts of ungodly hours as was often necessary before. It means one less car on the road, no more polluting traffic fumes, no more parking madness. The daily commute is now 12 metres!
And there are other beneficial factors too, because now I also get to be a better dad! I'm here for my daughter when she finishes school, and, in what was commuting time and with the money saved I've taken up vegan cookery (which I'll report on soon). AMAZING!
The new studio is fuelled by 100% green electric from Ecotricity and I've even had a fibre-optic broadband cable plumbed right to the door, enabling silly-big design files to upload in seconds … never had that before! What a difference it makes. I remember once trying to upload a 1 gig file at the farm. The estimated duration was eight hours, and after about three the connection dropped out and invited me to start over! Hmmm!!?
I think one of the main positives to come out of the tragedy that is Covid, is that we've all spent two years having to work in different ways. Zoom meetings, once a rare thing (and painful to get people to engage with) are now entirely normal, speeding everything up and making life much easier. We've also got a bit more real … it's OK to be human, to have needs, … mental-health is a conversation that can be had now … the former 'corporate facade' that pretended none of that mattered got smashed to pieces as CEOs logged in whilst sitting on the corner of their bed … a most personal, intimate space!
Having a 'posh shed' in the garden from which to work would have once been deemed as 'a bit shit' – not very professional – whereas now it's an envy inducing asset and perhaps heralds a new potential for how we might work in the future, with more openness and authenticity.
So, for me, from here, the adventure continues … I've got the perfect little space to think big … how wonderful!