Sam Croft

Full-stack developer

Moving into a new studio—why it is the right time for Running in the Halls to expand in sq ft

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March 2012 was an incredible month for Running in the Halls (RITH). We launched Librarygame and were simply overwhelmed with the response from libraries all over the world.

I didn’t think it was possible to top the feelings we shared during launch week, but the momentum we experienced as a team in March has well and truly continued into April as we made the move into a much larger studio.

Why we have moved

When we came back from the Christmas break in January we were all pumped about the year ahead. We spent the entire first week of the year planning and organising the next few months. We did this in our modest studio that we had been working in since day one when we started RITH in September 2009. Our studio wasn’t too small, it was comfortable for the three of us – but for holding meetings, working with freelancers or welcoming visitors it became… rather cosy shall we say.

The original RITH studio, August 2009-March 2012

Super shiny polished floorboards in the first Running in the Halls studio
We'll miss the lovely floorboards in the first RITH studio
Running in the Halls 'R' logo
I sat next to this huge RITH 'R' logo for over a year. We'll have to get some more made for the new studio.

So as attached as we were to our first studio, we all knew that this was the right time to start looking for a bigger space.

Carefully planned

Although it was the right time to increase our floorspace, it certainly wasn’t a whimsical decision to move into a larger studio. After all, we could carry on in our current studio. But would we be more efficient given space to feel more comfortable and entertain our guests? I think we could all answer that with a resounding yes.

But work efficiencies aside there was the ever present and [substantially] more important consideration; finances. Part of our original business plan, that we wrote in 2009, was to keep our monthly outgoings down as much as we could for the first couple of years. That sounds very simple and sensible in principle, but it’s something you have to consciously keep on top of. Fortunately, being a web related startup our other costs have always been pretty small.

So with the assurance that we had followed our original plan and the obvious feelings that it was time to move into a bigger space; we started looking. And fortunately, we didn’t have to look very far. Just 200m (meters) down the road, in the same mill as our current studio, was a beautiful and character filled 2000 sq ft open plan studio space.

We’re a team of three full time directors but at any one time we can have up to three additional employees working on our projects. We love the freedom of being able to expand and contract throughout the year. We like being agile and the range of competencies we can offer this way. But even for six, 2000 sq ft was far too large a space for RITH. What we managed to secure was half of the studio, with the space being divided into two separate 1000 sq ft studios and shared wc/services in the middle. Fantastic.

So while we were busy polishing Librarygame and launching it in March, the new RITH studio was taking shape.

Partitions being created for the new RITH studio
Partitions being created for the new RITH studio

Introducing the new RITH studio, April 2012-

Running in the Halls new studio front door
The front door for the new RITH studio. Complete with steps and ramp!
The rear entrance of the new Running in the Halls studio
We have a turret (of sorts) at the rear of the new RITH studio!
Iman Moradi and Tom Betts in the new Running in the Halls studio
Iman and Tom discussing one of our projects in the new RITH studio

My new work space

For me this move has been fantastic. I now have a large area to comfortably work in and can spread out without feeling on top of anyone else in the office. And if I need to knuckle down I can get the headphones on and be away from any hustle and bustle in the studio without being interrupted. Amazing.

I guess those are just the practical things. Moving has also absolutely re-energised me, in every way. I was literally buzzing with excitement the first couple of weeks in the new studio, waking up earlier than normal and finding myself reveling in handling multiple deadlines. I never felt compelled to work out of hours in the old studio, much preferring to continue work in my office at home in the evenings and weekends. The same cannot be said for the new studio, it’s just such a pleasant environment to work in.

My work area, desk and iMac in the new Running in the Halls studio
Ahh, that's better! A much larger area to work in. And a beautiful view right out of the window!

About the author

I'm Sam Croft a full-stack developer with over 15 years experience in web and app development. For the last six years I have been a partner of Running in the Halls, an app and game design studio based in Huddersfield, UK. During this time I have developed many web and applications. Highlights include a node.js/socket.io app to create the worlds largest crowd-based game on the first series of Channel 4's Gadget Man with Stephen Fry and Librarygame, a Library gamification platform for Universities. Librarygame is being played by over 6,000 students at The Open University, The University of Manchester, The University of Glasgow and The University of Huddersfield.

In my spare time I enjoy long distance running, watching all sports (especially F1) and playing video games. I live in the Holme Valley in West Yorkshire with my wife, Alex.

Sometimes I tweet.