Blogs & Thoughts

What’s the view from your workplace?

With such a huge proportion of us still working from home, our kitchens, living rooms and spare bedrooms have become the new workplace.

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  • Author Steve Smith
  • Date 09 December 2020
  • Read Time 2.5 minutes
City view from floor to ceiling windows in a meeting room

Teams and Zoom have opened up our homes to the world and I think everyone has enjoyed a wee nosey.

A colleague commented that meetings are now like the game show “Through the Keyhole.”  Maybe Keith Lemon will make a guest appearance at our next internal Townhall Talk?

Watching remote interviews on the news it seems that every MP in the country has a library in their home with every one appearing in front of a backdrop of leather bound hardbacks.  Perhaps these are simply a façade like the store fronts in a spaghetti western?

There is a scale, with extremes at either end. The first are the people who are very relaxed and happy to take a call sitting cross legged on the bed perhaps not aware the web cam is seeing discarded clothes in the background? At the other end of the spectrum, there are the people, that I think it’s hard to believe they haven’t intentionally framed their camera angle to make sure it takes in the new designer sofa with accent lighting softly highlighting the vase of fresh cut flowers.  Maybe that is a bit harsh – perhaps the flowers were plastic.

Wherever we sit on the scale we have all adapted to sharing our homes with our colleagues but how have we adapted our homes for work?

I am currently in my 4th work from home location.  This is not in an effort to show off every room in the house through Teams I might add, this has been a progression in ergonomics.  At the beginning I thought that I would be back in my workplace pretty soon, so didn’t think about it much, starting at the kitchen table, sat on a hard bench with a guitar stand as a makeshift monitor arm, moving to a folding table which I set up in the living room. But, when I realised that we were not going back to the office any time soon I began to upgrade, and have created a space in my living room that accommodates a 1400mm workstation with fully adjustable gas lift task chair.  I’m sure the progression has been similar for many people.

One of the many things we’ve all learnt over this 9-month period, is the importance of the physical place we work, our ‘workstation’ and the environment around us, about the type of spaces we need and how we need these spaces to function.  And those ‘look through the keyhole’ moments? They have just highlighted how individual we all are, what works for one person may not for the next.  So, as we move to the future how can we make sure we continue to create functionality with individuality?

And, if we are still in this situation next summer however, I really do like the idea of an office in the garden.