Who would have thought, just a few weeks ago, that we who are able to work from home, would now be thinking that this is something that is here to stay, not for weeks, but in some ways, forever.
The benefits of working from home to our society, and our environment are huge, and not forgetting our health too. So let me first apologise to all those who are unable to work from home, our "first liners" for example..you may not be able to work from home, but you will benefit too.. How ? The roads will be quieter, the air cleaner and it will be easier for you to travel, and I suspect many other benefits Have yet to think of.... however, if all those who can work fully or part time from home, if they actually did, then the reduced travel, use of fuels, wear and tear on the roads, better for the environment and our health, is enormous... In some way, we will be saving money and the environment at the same time... some more so, some less so... but ultimately, and with the use of modern communications, a faster way to do business, and at a lower cost...
Now some of you will be arguing that working from "home alone.." could be less productive, you may be too easily distracted to the family, pets or "fridge"... Or you may argue that the home environment away from a company office is less creative, less inspiring... less motivated by not having people around you.... and in some ways you may be right..
BUT, you may also have to get used to working from home, because you have no other option ... SO, instead of seeing the glass half empty, lets embrace the thought that the glass is half full, let us be creative and finds ways we have not even thought of yet, to increase productivity, creativity, efficiency, control and management of what we do and how we do it...
I am sitting in my home right now, in fact I no longer have an office away from home, ironically I decided to dispense with it a few weeks ago, before the pandemic started.. and I love it.. but then again I do have the luxury of having a space I call my "area" my "office" my "work environment".... and I emphasise that not all will be as fortunate as me...
So what can we architects and designers do to help you ?
We can offer our design services to adapt your homes where possible, this not only provides us with additional work, that I guess many designers are currently seeking, but it gives you the creative minds to help you to format a work environment in your home, and maybe even the possibility of extending your home, building a new office in the garden, converting a garage or a loft, or simply helping to arrange a corner of your home as a suitable space in which to work.
Although as stated I recently dispensed with a formal office, I have been cheating, because I have worked mainly from home for the last four years and I have found that I can split my time far more easily between actual work and other household family time... you can be more flexible at home... because instead of working late at a company office, I can wander into my home office at any time of day or night, and get more work done than before, and without affecting my family time... Sometimes I am needed just for a few minutes by the family, no problem with working from home because I can easily shift between rooms in just seconds, but equally I have found having focus and a work ethic that gets all my work done, and without wasting time on travelling between home and an outside office, and thereby less fuel and travelling expenses... is a win win situation.
In my next blog, I will be approaching the subject of how the pandemic will change the company office that cannot be at home.. new ways we will need to adapt to and work. And how this will change the way we designers and architects will have to design and implement a new building or within an existing building... Times are not only changing, they already have !
Andrew J Bannister