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Working Remotely

Working Remotely

written by Janet Divin

Making the transition from the office to working remotely from home during the Shelter in Place can present challenges, but nothing our wonderful office couldn’t handle! Like most businesses, quick planning and implementation was the theme in our office mid-March. Our staff quickly shifted gears to move forward, and the culture of our office has made the biggest impact. We continue to work well as a team and have focused on strategies to communicate with each other to give each project the detailed work it deserves.

Eating Healthy. Russell Huggins, one of our project interns, said, “What has made working from home an easier transition has been keeping a routine. I still wake up and get ready for work like I normally would, but instead of stopping and grabbing a donut on my way into work, I make myself breakfast and collect myself before logging in.”


Check on your co-workers. One of our architects, Pamela da Graca, started working at home before the rest of us because of a broken foot! She has a unique way of getting her mind off the chaos of our world right now. She said, “I have found a broken foot to be a thorough distraction from the global pandemic.  Anyone needing something to divert their panic should consider a mobility- and independence-limiting injury!  They should first make sure their work colleagues are generous enough people to be willing to track down pain killers, help them get to doctor appointments, and check on their food supplies, however.” Her work family has been taking care of her and she has been working hard at home.

Improve your Mindset. Brooke Whitehurst said, “I think the things that have helped me the most during this time is getting some quiet time around nature to pray and list the things I’m grateful for, letting myself feel whatever emotions come up and give myself some grace, and learning to relax and find things to laugh about.”  Brooke and her husband welcomed a puppy to their family last week for a cute and cuddly distraction! 

Reduce Distractions. There has long been debates on the benefit of open office plans. Major breakthroughs and discoveries can happen at the proverbial water fountain. One major drawback is the constant distractions from overheard conversations, noise, etc. Working from home brings similar challenges and we can learn from years of research. Noise cancelling headphones, finding quiet work spaces or going outside to have a phone conversation can help reduce the stress of working from home. Read more tips here: https://hbr.org/2018/10/staying-focused-in-a-noisy-open-office

Stay Connected. Our Associate Principal, Paul Martinez, said, “The most useful technology has probably been Microsoft Teams or Zoom by being able to stay in instant contact with everyone at the office and the ability to meet via video.”   

Have Fun. Probably the best part of this time apart was our ZOOM Happy Hour.  Everyone grabbed their favorite drink and joined in for some social distance socializing!  It was nice to see everyone’s smiling faces.  We even had a penguin come to our happy hour! 

Alternating between a seated and standing position will give you more health benefits than just standing or sitting the entire day.

Be comfortable. Ergonomic seating and sit/stand desks are a normally great options. Taking small breaks to stand up & stretch will help reduce the strain from sitting and is something to consider if your dining room chair is the best option right now. When designing for our clients, we utilize ergonomic design principles to setup work spaces; our home work spaces are no different. Height adjustable stands for computer monitors are a great way to improve focus, improve posture, and reduce long term damage to the back & spine. Read more here: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/how-to-design-an-ergonomic-office

Spend time with your Family. Another one of our principal architects, Eva Read-Warden, had to spend 2 weeks in quarantine with her daughter who she picked up from the airport after her trip back from New York.  Eva spins many plates at our office, so in addition to managing all her projects, she helped keep all of us connected during this unprecedented time. From our Monday morning meeting to our “ZOOM Happy Hour,” staying connected has kept our office running smoothly and efficiently.