I feel very fortunate that SPACE took the decision to migrate early to ‘working from home’. We had the IT hardware and software tried and tested and there was the two-way trust from the directors, my team and colleagues to make the transition into lockdown somewhat seamless.
Tuesday 17th March 2020 marked the official beginning of WFH and this new regime which for many of us, who are able to, has now become the norm, to some extent.
As we come to the end of our eighth week of WFH, I personally believe I’ve entered the third phase of what I predict to be a series of ebbs + flows, peaks + troughs, highs + lows, conscious + subconscious transitions into this new way of living and working.
Everyone will have their own personal phases and its normal for us all to react and adapt to different things at different times. On a sunny afternoon, which we’ve been lucky to have many off, I found myself categorising my own phases into the following stages and predict this will be a circular process until we plateau into the new norm:
- Fight and/or flight
- Adrenaline rush/the novelty buzz
- 2D fatigue
- The virtual & physical balance
As a designer not on the ‘front-line’, able to carry out the majority of tasks, on a laptop in the comfort from my living room we were lucky to be able to adapt to new ways of working and provide the same level of service to our clients.
The biggest element in order to drive creative momentum essential between design teams is without a doubt the company’s investment in Microsoft Teams. The platform which our IT team had been advocating for months/years* prior to COVID-19 was unfairly and ignorantly relegated as a key everyday tool before WFH was essential to the ongoing operations of the business, and for that will always be grateful to Rory + Hayley – thank-you.
Teams has enabled us to have our weekly resource catch-ups, daily design crits, project meetings, client workshops, Friday G&T’s and social hang-outs…all vital in staying connected and keeping the creative energy afloat.
It doesn’t quite replace that surprise coffee that lands on your desk or that impromptu catch-up that sparks those gem light-bulb moments or walking past someone’s desk and screeching with pure joy of the latest cacti fabric sample or beautiful fret-cut brass prototype sign or randomly laughing at why your workmate suddenly has a bright pink wig on, but we’ve found it the best alternative in these times.
Every now and again, we must not forget that all our human instincts and sensory experiences have catastrophically changed over the last five weeks and in turn has direct impact on how environments and spaces will need to adapt for users and audiences. Never has people centred (interior) design been more pertinent to develop safe, holistic and dynamic spaces.
As I’m typing, the third key priority for the UK government was announced (how we can make life in the workplace safe) something we are well underway to developing for our own teams and with existing clients. If this lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that design matters in every aspect and this can only be a truly positive and exciting time for change, appreciation and wellbeing.
Stay safe and stay connected.