Balancing work, life and hats —

At JAC&, we prioritise life. Understanding that sounds ridiculous (who doesn’t prioritise life?) let’s go a bit further and explain what we mean.

Running a small design studio is challenging. There are no account managers, no financial controllers, no junior designers, no senior designers, no sales people; as the business owner you are all of these things and more. To be clear, there are no complaints here. These challenges offer great reward, it is hugely satisfying when you balance multiple hats on your head well. We also recently built and launched 43 Derby Street – a shared workspace and flexible space for hire – this means more hats. Many more hats.

It would surprise some to learn that despite adding these extra hats, we recently let our clients know that the studio will not be open on Mondays. We still start at 9, finish at 5 and generally don’t succumb to ‘design emergencies’ because we believe those two words don’t belong together.

We don’t feel like we’re letting our clients down or sacrificing the quality of our work. It is a bit of a cliché, but reducing the amount of working hours in the week has simply meant working smarter not harder. This is what working smarter means to us:

  • Considered planning and organisation. We know what we’re doing today, tomorrow and the next day. Our projects are scheduled and we communicate well and often.
  • Being thoughtful with decisions and time. We stop to evaluate every action and question whether or not it’s adding value to us or our clients.
  • Thinking ahead to avoid unexpected outcomes. We work with our clients to scope out projects before starting. This helps us and them understand potential requirements and costs. 
  • Talking openly about intentions and ambitions. We start every conversation here to ensure every step taken is one towards the goal.

Because of our approach, some clients are not the right fit for us and vice/versa. We are selective about the projects we commit to, only entering into relationships that add value to both parties. This does mean that JAC& doesn’t grow at everyone’s ideal pace, it grows at a slow and steady pace which suits us.

With an expanding to-do list and a new employee starting, it’s become more important to reflect on and clarify our values and put them into action. So, we choose to prioritise life. We choose to be considered with our time at work, so we add value to ours and our clients lives. We choose to be at work less, so we can give more time to the people we love.

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