The creatives office – EPY week 2

The EPY (Enterprise Year) gives me an office type place of work in Huddersfield, which I aim to work from four days a week. It’s a nice office, quite empty at the moment because many of the other students are still on summer holidays. It also forces me to move from home and play mode to office and work mode.

On the down side, being a creative person, it’s not the most inspiring environment. The colour scheme is very grey, light brown and a touch of muted green. I don’t ‘get’ the hot desking thing. Since it’s everyones nature to sit at the same desk everyday, this idea that we can use any desk seems pointless. There’s nothing personal to identify me as an individual. There’s no plants, no sound, I’ve taken to wearing headphones, even though there’s not always something playing on them. There’s nothing to say “I Was Here”.

I’ve never had a ‘desk job’, I’ve worked in kitchens, restaurants, hotels, hostels, day centres, clubs, even worked at the Magic Circle (Now that’s an interesting workplace!) I always thought I’d hate working in an office, and I’m finding out that it’s true.

A few months ago I had a meeting at the Electric Works in Sheffield, a similar office type place, but with one major difference, a three storey metal slide. It was a long, tough day. Discussing the effects of poverty is never easy and some of us were struggling to see hope by the end of the meetings. A few tears had been shed, frustrations shared, anger, hurt, and despair. What a sorry bunch we were. However, when it was all over we got in the lift and rode to the top floor, then one by one, got on a slide and… well, the video will show you what happened.

My main frustration about having the office space is that it forces me to be organised more than I imagined. But its a good frustration.

I feel as though I have two workspaces, the office in Huddersfield and my creative space in Leeds. I can’t say I’ll spent the morning on paperwork then the afternoon on making things because the commute between the two is too long. I can’t face a dull paper work hour and follow it with a bit of creating because my creating tools are in Leeds. Most frustrating is that I can’t come up with an idea in the office and immediately grab the wool to see if it would work.

I bring a stuffed backpack with me everyday, filled with things I might need to get me through the day and every morning I leave behind a small pile of things I just can’t fit into the bag.

Not all is lost though. This office, plain as it is, is forcing me to sit and write blogs more regularly, it’s forcing me to finally get serious about the workings of my own business. It’s like the skeleton of the business, forcing me to gather my facts on similar business ideas, forcing me to face the financial costs of business.

Lets face it, if I had an office space within 50 feet of my creative space I’d spend my days distracting myself with pretty knits. Sure, I’d make a lot more stock to sell (or would I?), but the backbone, researching the costs of competitors, looking into toy safety laws, being realistic about pricing, those things that will keep a business standing in the long run, those very important things just wouldn’t get done.

It’d be nice to have a plant though, or some fish… cats! what about cats in the office while you work? I like the idea of finishing everyday with a slide, but then… how many days of sliding would it take before that was no longer special? If the extraordinary became ordinary where would we go next?

Perhaps, on reflection, having a slide in the office might not be as fantastic as it seems. I like the sense of fun that a slide brings, but having it everyday would make it ordinary, and that might make it a chore, and adding one more chore to my to do list just takes the enjoyment out of it.



Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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