We’ve known each other through the Toronto design and tech trades for many years. We’ve spoken on panels together and even worked at the same company for a bit.
Through a coffee conversation earlier this year, we realized we were at a similar stage of needs in our careers:
- We had both left senior roles in large tech companies,
- We weren’t in a hurry to find another role that required commuting,
- We wanted to contribute to our local UX communities,
- We really wanted to find a place to focus on our own projects.
We found a space, one just right enough, in the heart of downtown Hamilton, Ontario. We leased it for a one year trial. A trial for how we might help one another do better work; a trial for how large of an impact we could make while confining ourselves to a small space…
A trial for semi-remote work
While continuing to work from each of our homes was an easy and free option, I had some post-sabbatical realizations over the past 6 months that Tom nodded in agreement with:
- Finding separation between personal and professional life is equally important and challenging. When your workspace is embedded in your living space, household or family tasks can scream for your attention.
- The constant presence of peers creates a pressure to perform, and also allows for accidental creative magic.
- Surrounding yourself with culture (and coffee) evokes an energy that can be tough to find at home in context of your work.
- Privacy can yield great comfort. Having an office with a door you can close and open when you wish, and intentionally choosing who shares it with you, is a comfort multiplier far greater than just headphones.
- An office makes things official. You can give it a name. It has an address you’re comfortable sharing. People can visit it. It unlocks a bit of pride. You work somewhere. You work there.
When our lease goes up for renewal a year from now, we’ll sit down and see what worked and didn’t. We’ll decide if our v1 of Practical.studio still makes sense, or if we should invest in a larger version/space that invites more people to comfortably focus on producing great work.
We’re excited for the next steps in our careers to come to life in a small space above a coffeeshop in a city yet to be recognized for its potential in creative technology :)