As we consider the day-to-day implications, it’s important to realise that where we’ve ended up is not normal remote working. In the past, this term described working from any environment outside the traditional office. What architects across the country are doing now is very specifically homeworking, which comes with many more challenges than sitting in a co-working space, in a comfortable chair with a friendly barista providing a steady flow of coffee.
For many, working from home has meant working from bedrooms and kitchen tables without the mod cons of the office, surrounded by all the distractions of home life.
The line between personal and professional lives has blurred with many highlighting the very real struggle of working whilst homeschooling children.
My wife and I are both working whilst looking after toddlers. The key that we’ve found is a four hour work cycle. Our working day starts at 8:30, allowing us to have some family time in the morning. Depending on who has got the biggest workload that day, we do between an hour and a half or two hours with the kids each. We’re treating it very much like a regimented 8:30-5:30 schedule. It’s important for us not to keep it fluffy - “you have them for an hour and I’ll have them for an hour” etc, because you’re slipping between work mode and home mode constantly. It’s keeping us relatively efficient and everyone, including the kids, know and stick to the routine.
Stefan Shaw Studio
The clear consensus was that setting up and enforcing routines was step one in separating home life from work life.
I’ve personally found it really hard to stick to normal working hours. Start times can range from 7am to 10am and the same goes for when you finish. The flexibility can really play against you. Because you’re not around other people it’s so much harder to stick to a routine.
Unsurprisingly, “Staying focused in a work-at-home environment” was the single challenge most felt by respondents with a fifth of all architects selecting this as the most difficult aspect of their new working life.
Some, however, were finding the opposite to be true.
I was one of those people that jumps around the office checking in with people. Now that I can’t do that I’m actually finding that I’m getting a lot more work done, which is good. So productivity for me has gone up. Probably one of the most amazing things is not having to commute. All those extra hours in the morning and evening are a godsend.