Working from Home – We’re in it Together

As many of us navigate the nuances of remote work, we are discovering ways to create productive work areas within the confines of our personal living space. While some homeowners may already have a dedicated home office, others are discovering effective ways to create that work space, or use their existing office in a manner exclusive to “work.”

Given many company’s work-from-home mandate caused by COVID-19, home offices are being utilized now more than ever.

Before this current health crisis, remote work was already accelerating in the United States. In fact, according to the Federal Reserve, the share of the labor force that works from home has tripled in the last 15 years. Despite this recent growth (prior to the COVID-19 outbreak), most of us still regularly commuted to a separate workplace and are now acclimating to the new standard: working from home. Today, we will look at some ways to help inspire and encourage work productivity within our current physical surroundings.

One Gallup survey found that 43% of all Americans work from home occasionally — a statistic that has skyrocketed with the current health crisis.

With many of us are spending an exponential amount of time at home, we are likely paying a lot more attention to our physical space and perhaps experimenting with different work setups. Experts emphasize the importance of creating a consistent workspace and say, psychologically, that dedicating a space solely for work helps people successfully divide the tasks of work and family life. Working from a designated space also signals to other household members that we are prioritizing work and should not be disturbed.

When used consistently as a primary workspace, experts recommend that, if possible, one’s home office be used just for work—not for family socializing.
These pocket doors allow homeowners to close off their office for a quieter workspace — especially important with a house full of people.

While not everyone has an at-home office, there are creative, adaptable workspaces to discover within a home. For instance, an infrequently used dining room table could become a wonderful, quiet work refuge. Or, a kitchen island could offer a sleek, inviting space from which to set up each morning. For families with two adults working from home, one person may choose to use a desk nook or kitchen table, while the other creates a separate workspace in a quiet upstairs area.

Just beyond the kitchen is a built-in office nook and when breakfast is finished, this kitchen island could double as an additional inviting work area with ample counter space and lighting.
When working from home —particularly with young children — it’s easy for work and family life to overlap. To help delineate these lines, create a consistent space from which to work. Noise cancelling headphones are also a great investment.

In addition to adults working from home, the COVID-19 crisis means many families now have their school-aged children home around-the-clock. This new dynamic requires homeowners to find quiet work areas for their kids’ remote, on-line classes, as well as functional gathering space(s) to study or congregate with minimal disruption to other family members.

Children often find quiet comfort working in their own room. Here, a built-in desk and comfortable chair arranged by a window offers a private spot to concentrate.
With millions of school-aged kids now at home, a room that offers both a study area and lounging space is a popular option.

During these unprecedented workdays, there will be times when family members want to convene for a needed work or study break. That could mean a few minutes Skyping with an older relative, discussing recipe ideas, or talking through a work project. While having space to work independently at home can be invaluable, taking a break together in a communal area can help inspire productivity and companionship during this challenging time.

When working from home, sharing work and study breaks in a common space can foster productivity and connection for all family members.

Today, people can successfully work well as a remote team when they stay in touch. There are great options available for video-conferencing and screen sharing (GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Webex, to name a few) that not only help with daily internal communication, but also ensure that client presentations and design projects continue to run smoothly. As a daily touchpoint, we begin each day with a virtual team meeting, which, despite the lack of physical contact, allows our office communication and workflow to remain on track.

It’s impossible not to pay attention to our physical realm today as we work from home, together. And for those people who continue to work in hospitals, grocery stores and all essential places of business, we are eternally grateful for your service. We are living through extraordinary times and wish you all safety, inspiration and productivity while navigating this unprecedented period in work and life.