When you hear the word “studio,” you might think of a recording studio or even an artist’s studio. You might not think about it with regards to WordPress design and client work. That, however, is exactly what you’re building when you set up your work space! Thinking of your home office (or rented office space) as a studio instead of an office is much more conducive to what you’re actually going to be doing for your clients. After all, offices are boring. Studios, though, studios are where art happens!
Every WordPress design studio needs a few basic things: a comfortable working space, a reliable internet connection, space to spread out a little bit, and good (hopefully natural) light. The more windows (physical, not OS) the better.
While you might not be able to do anything about the number of windows you have or your wall placement, you should have some wiggle room with the rest.
Start with your net connection. You work on the World Wide Web. You need a connection that is fast, reliable, secure, etc. Spend some time shopping around for a good deal. Compare and contrast things like upload/download speeds, server up time, number of outages, etc. Definitely make sure to compare price. You want something that won’t cost you more than you’ll earn in a month. For example, if you can find U-Verse in your area, you can get internet for about $15 a month. Compared to the megacorps, that’s not too bad, especially for a startup budget.
Now, on to your workstation. A lot of designers have been opting for standing or convertible desks over the standard desk chair/artists’s table (or desk) setup. This is because standing desks and tables offer a number of health benefits, not the least of which is the permanent slouch most designers dread.
You should also make sure that your workstation allows you to spread out. Yes, most of the work you do will be done in virtual space. Still, being able to print things out to study them in larger formats is important for in-depth design projects. You won’t get the same feel for the project if you have to flip through pages that you will get if you can spread them out, either across your working surface or on the floor.
Creating a Vibe
We all think we know what our ideal work space will look and feel like. Then we set it up that way and find that it isn’t actually conducive to getting a lot done. This is why we’re suggesting that you spend some time working in the space before you start to personalize it. Then, personalize that space around your working habits and job demands.
In addition to visuals, you’ll also want to pay particular attention to the sounds that infiltrate your space. Whether these are the sounds of your home life operating around you or ambient noise filtering in from the street, you’ll need to find a way to either blend them into a larger soundscape or block them out completely.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have ambient noise. Maybe you thrive with conversational noise in the background. If that’s true, then by all means, open the windows and doors. Or, if you prefer conversational noise that isn’t going to tempt you to eavesdrop, set up a television and play old episodes of favorite shows or listen to talk radio.
Most designers, though, find they work best either with quiet, nature sounds or music. Music is a natural choice but be aware that it can influence your designs. Noise cancelling headphones can be a great way to listen to music without allowing in ambient noise.
When you’re strapped for ideas, having people wander in and out of your studio can be good. You can show them your code and basic site layout and ask for input. If you want to get into a groove, though, you need a door that will shut and a way to communicate to others that you do not want to be disturbed. Some do this with a simple sign. Others train those around them to leave them alone during certain times of day.
It is also important to set up personal boundaries. As a WordPress designer, your work schedule is likely going to be flexible. Many people do not understand that “flexible” doesn’t mean that you can blow off work whenever they want. Make sure you tell people that you need them to respect your work space and working time!
Now that you’ve got your space set up and you’ve seen to everything from the ambience to your posture, go get those clients!