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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.