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Avoiding Insanity with an Office

by Tom | 30th, April 2012

After working from home for nearly a year now we're very happy (and a little relieved) to announce that Scirra now has a new HQ!

Tom spoke at last Thursday's London HackerNews meetup and briefly mentioned the virtues of moving from the bedroom/garage into a dedicated work space. For many, understandably, keeping costs to the bare minimum is an essential tactic to keeping costs down (part of a strategy known as 'Bootstrapping').

A slide from Tom's talk at HN London last Thursday

However there comes a point where the cost associated with moving to a dedicated work space (an office!) is outweighed by the better quality of life you hope an office will provide you:

  • It helps you get out the house every day!
  • Working in an office is often far less solitary than working from home
  • Clear separation of work/life
  • More daily structure
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Increased productivity

A lot of the listed benefits sound cliche and quite frankly dull and unimportant. (Structure? Who needs structure in their life?) Yet the benefits are real and important. If you've been working from home for extended periods of time the negatives can gradually creep up on you like a frog in boiling water. Once you switch, the benefits become quickly apparent. The longer you've been without these benefits for the more impact they will have on your daily life when you do switch.

Perhaps the most apparent benefit so far has been the work/life separation. If you're working and living from home and work frequently it can be difficult to keep proper working hours. It also starts to become hard to relax at home as you're always in 'work mode'. A dedicated away-from-home workspace clearly separates your work from your life and really does help improve your quality of life. Weekends are back from extinction!

Granted it's still the honeymoon period with the new office (we've only been in here for a week or two) but the benefits so far are extremely beneficial in just about every aspect of our lives. It's also an exciting milestone in any startup's life!

As previously mentioned it's common for startups in the early stages to bootstrap and have tight reins on outgoing expenses to elongate the window of opportunity they are able to work in - therefore taking on an office might not be a good fit for everyone. However it is something to consider and can make a lot of sense. It's important to time decisions for relatively expensive costs such as an office which coincide with a monthly commitments correctly (unless you are bestowed with great fortunes). Too early and it's an expense that can stunt your growth, too late and your startup can become mentally fatiguing and possibly even demotivating.

It's not top floor of the Shard but we love it!

Fortunately for us we think we've timed it pretty well and of course are very excited for the future of Scirra! (And we're far from insane, I think!)

As you can see from the above photo we have a big empty white void on our wall (just above Ashley's computer) which we need filling! So we've created a new badge, The Postcard Badge!

Send us your Postcards!

If you're able to send a postcard from wherever you live we would love to pin it up in that big white space! Simply send it to Scirra Ltd, Electroline House, 15 Lion Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 4JH, London, United Kingdom. Don't forget to write your username somewhere on the postcard so we can give you your badge!

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Jasper 3,358 rep

Very nice! :)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:06:12 PM
-Silver- 5,368 rep

Awesome! Glad you guys have made the move! Having an office must be a great milestone to reach, as it's one of these things you dream about having in the future. Out of curiosity, how far is the office from where you live? I live in the country so travel to an office in town could also impact expenses through travel costs. Just wondering how much of an issue that was for you guys in deciding where to set up shop.

Also, I'm pretty sure that computer on the left has the same case as mine... Fractal R3? Love the blank front!

And postcard incoming =)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:10:56 PM
Tom 54.7k rep

@Silver it's very near to us, around a 1.5-2 mile walk each way which is perfect.

It is a lot more expensive and more difficult of a decision if you were to travel, we did look at some shared offices in London. Travelling to London each day though is laborious and very expensive so we would have probably held off for longer if it was our only option.

Looking forward to your postcard :)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:13:52 PM
carminielloz 9,166 rep

congrats on your office guys !!!
i try send you a postcard from China
(that s where I live )
I am sure you will expand and your business will greatly satisfy you economically and morally !

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:14:06 PM
Tom 54.7k rep

@carminielloz a postcard from China would be awesome!

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:16:30 PM
ludodesign 30.7k rep

Oh!.. beatiful place, I loved so much it. Congratulations peopla, you really deserve a good place to work.

Here in Brasil we have a little office too, to meet other people and coworks and produce games =)

Other day I can send a picture, if you wanna =)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:23:03 PM
carminielloz 9,166 rep

ok Tom that is mission tomorrow ,
I ll type in your address in my phone and go to the post office .... 然后发给你们明信片。then send you guys the postcard .

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:28:32 PM
mammoth 9,325 rep

I like the redbull! So that is the secret ingredient to all of those releases.

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:29:29 PM
-Silver- 5,368 rep

@Tom - Yup, my girlfriend has just got a job in the heart of London, and it's pretty clear why salaries in that city are so much higher than outside. All that extra cash is spent on travel.

Where abouts is your office based then? I live in Kent. Always assumed Construct was developed in America :o

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:31:30 PM
Haematite 8,005 rep

Great to here, must be pretty exciting time right now for you guys. I'll try and send a postcard if I have the time, it will only be from Exeter though, so not quite as exciting as China!

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:33:17 PM
Tom 54.7k rep

@-Silver- we're in Twickenham which is SW London

@Haematite all postcards are exciting! We want to fill our wall with them :)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:34:37 PM
GenkiGenga 13.9k rep

Thats awesome guys, postcard is in the mail!

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:39:35 PM
Jopa 864 rep

That awesome, I'll send a postcard =)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:55:48 PM
valkyriegames 4,925 rep

Congratulations on getting a new office Tom and Ashley! I hope you'll both enjoy your your new little workplace away from home :) Post a follow up post when your wall is filled with postcards won't you? :D

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:56:22 PM
Tom 54.7k rep

@valk yes we'll take some photos when it starts filling up :)

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 3:56:56 PM

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