Hi, I'm Joseph D'Souza, the owner of Alpha Labs, a web design agency based in Hazlemere. For years, I've managed my business from the solitude of my home office, enjoying the flexibility but also missing some of the social aspects that come with a traditional office setting.
Since discovering Patch here in High Wycombe, I've found a valuable addition to my work routine that brings both renewed motivation and social interaction, without completely changing how I operate. I thought I'd share a few of these below, in case you find yourself in a similar situation and keen to explore an alternative option.
The solitary life of a WFH business owner
Working from home certainly has its perks such as flexibility and no commute. However, it's not without its challenges, particularly when you're based in a smaller village like Hazlemere. Along with the monotony of living and working in the the same place, these are a few areas I've struggled with:
The solitude can be a double-edged sword. While it allows for focused working, the absence of a dynamic office environment leads to a predictable routine, which can sometimes affect motivation. During busy periods, I sometimes find I’ve not seen anyone outside of my immediate household for days!
Limited networking opportunities
Being in a small town means there are no natural opportunities for professional networking. This drawback affects my ability to make connections with business owners who I might be able to offer my services to. Time is limited when you work for yourself and finding time to travel for networking can sometimes be difficult.
The little things: Lunch choices and commutes
It may seem minor, but the lack of variety in daily routines, like limited lunch options or missing the 'wind-down' time the commute home can offer, can contribute to a sense of monotony. Being able to create a separation between home life and work life is sometimes challenging without these subtle escapes.
Discovering Patch: A breath of fresh air
When I first walked into Patch, I was expecting the usual quite formal, professional-before-personable type of environment. Thankfully, with no stuffy reception areas in sight, the reality was far more inviting. The atmosphere was immediately welcoming, largely thanks to Boo and Ed. They greeted me with a smile and took the time to give me a tour of the space, making me feel right at home with a casual, yet professional approach, showing genuine enthusiasm for their new space.
Social and networking benefits
Being at Patch adds a social layer to my work routine that was missing in my working from home-only life. I didn't realise how much I took for granted these types of casual interactions until I started at
Patch. These moments of socialising break up the day, but also create valuable moments of networking opportunities. I find myself both collaborating with and offering help to other professionals from the convenience of my work desk. The monthly member's lunch is a personal favourite and something I would highly recommend experiencing. If you're considering taking a trial day at Patch see if you can make the member’s lunch day.
Amenities and practicalities
One of the concerns I had about leaving my home office was the thought of giving up my second screen, which is so useful when coding a new website! Thankfully, Patch offers bookable desks with a second screen, allowing me to maintain my usual level of productivity. As someone who's practically fuelled by coffee, I was worried by how much working in town would affect my coffee bill. However, thankfully, Patch provide a proper bean-to-cup machine, which is included in the membership price and is a really nice bonus. For the occasional treat, there's also Django's on-site specialty coffee shop, which offers a discount for Patch members – so no need to worry about that coffee bill after all.
The best of both worlds: My hybrid routine
Patch has become a key element of how I structure my workweek, offering a nice change from my usual home office setting. I mostly work from home, but popping into Patch a few times a week really keeps things fresh. There's a community forming at Patch, and it's a pleasure to be part of it. Seeing familiar faces and catching up in the mornings or in the shared kitchen is something I love doing. This mix of working from home and coming into the office has given me a motivational boost, and I'm really enjoying my work at the moment as a result.
Patch has been a great addition to my work routine, offering social interactions, networking opportunities, and practical amenities like second-screen desks and quality coffee.
I really enjoy being a part of Patch and it’s community and would encourage anyone who works remotely to take advantage of a free trial day. Also, don’t forget to say hi when you do visit next!
Learn more about your local Patch by booking a tour here: www.patch.work/tourpatch.