Broadstone Vilara and our lead designer, Felicia Hyde of H.Hendy, were thrilled to be featured in a recent article in the Orange County Register. Read below to discover how we're adapting our living space to work from home during this time of COVID-19 and social distancing.
How to turn your living space into a home office, home school and more during coronavirus
It’s not something we’ve had to think about before: What happens when your family is home all or the most of the day, trying to work, do schoolwork, create, cook, exercise and relax? You might find yourself having to create multiple workspaces – for you, your spouse and your kids to do schoolwork. You also have to find ways to keep the common areas functional and free of clutter.
Luckily, those with experience in working from home, as well as interior designers, professional organizers, homeschoolers and others, are more than willing to share what they know with those who are new to it all.
The biggest priority? Designated workspaces should be established, ones that incorporate comfort, organization and privacy.
“First off, the location for your work setup is most important,” said Felicia Hyde, the principal and studio director at H. Hendy, a Newport Beach commercial interior design firm, and lead designer at the Broadstone Vilara apartments in Laguna Niguel.
As most homes don’t have separate rooms to dedicate to multiple adult and child work and school spaces, some creativity is necessary.
“If you’re comfortable working at your bartop in the kitchen or an alcove under your staircase, that’s great,” Hyde said. “It is really about crafting a space that feels best for you.”
You should assess all of the places in your home as possible work areas, as many people only need a laptop to work from home. Possibilities include a garage, walk-in closet or even a she-shed or other separate structure. Wireless, battery-operated LED puck lights and light bars can illuminate places with little or no electrical wiring when needed.
Home office setups
For everyone new to the club, welcome to remote work. As someone who has done so for the last four-plus years, I can say technology glitches and interruptions aside, it’s a great way to make a living. Don’t take my word for it: The 2019 State of Remote Work report from Buffer, a fully remote social media management company, found that 99% of the nearly 2,500 remote workers surveyed want to work from home at least some of the time for the rest of their careers, and 95% encourage others to do so.
How are others adjusting to the new normal? Everyday people on Instagram and Twitter are sharing photos of their home office setups with hashtags like #workfromhome, #wfh and #remotework. Because so many have had to shift to working at home with little or no warning, some setups are humorous or less than optimal. A turned-over clothes hamper or ironing boards, for instance, do not make great makeshift desks, though a fold-down liquor cabinet has possibilities.
Hyde emphasized you should set up your space to your liking and needs.
“For example, do you need a printer and where can you store it?” she said. “Can you utilize some baskets around the house to organize papers? … If you’re limited on horizontal space or width, think about how you can take advantage of any vertical space to make your work-from-home environment as efficient as possible.”
Internet and video chat setups
A strong internet connection will be an imperative with multiple people accessing it over multiple hours. You might consider buying a Wi-Fi extender if you don’t already have one. These extenders help increase network signals around your home so everyone in the family has access to better Wi-Fi coverage at higher speeds. There are wall-plug and stand-alone designs with varying coverage and boosting capabilities.
Because it is likely you will be doing more video chats, you’ll want to have an easy-to-use webcam. As for optimal lighting for video chats, it’s best to have the light source behind the webcam, just as it is for cameras. If you have windows to the side or behind your desk, it’s best to shut out that natural light during video chats, but be aware vertical blinds aren’t best in this situation, as they may move and cause odd light streaks and shadows on the webcam. You should turn off overhead lighting (which also casts shadows) and use an adjustable, dimmable LED desk lamp set behind your computer screen near your webcam aimed to light your face, lifestyle site Remoter.co recommends.
The other key thing to pay attention to for video chatting is your background. It’s best to test your webcam to see what your colleagues will see and straighten any books, clear laundry, ditch the dead plant, etc. This way you can ensure that neon St. Pauli Girl sign you had to have isn’t in the frame while you talk with your boss (unless your boss is Michael Scott).
Professional organizer Ariane Lucas, owner of Tustin-based Clutter Nanny, specializes in creating functional and tidy spaces for kids based on her years of experience as a nanny.
For school-age children who are distance learning, the designated space, organization and privacy rules also apply.
“If possible, it would be best to have a desk or table space in each child’s room,” Lucas said. “It shouldn’t be the bed or the floor — save those for sleep and play. If outlets are needed for computers or tablets, keep that in mind as well.”
If space in their room isn’t available, a kitchen counter or the dining room table also will do the job. Wherever it is, ideally kids are able to complete their schoolwork in a distraction-free environment.
“That means no one on phone calls and TVs or screens of any sort are turned off, other than what is needed for schoolwork,” Lucas said. “If other children are finished with schoolwork, they should play quietly or read in a different room. Make sure that as the adult facilitating, you are not distracting either – don’t start preparing lunch if they are working at the kitchen counter, don’t make calls within earshot, and do your best to avoid letting younger ones distract.”
All the supplies needed – pens and pencils, notebooks, paper, books and other materials – should be on hand and organized, Lucas said. If you can’t store these in a desk, a container or box works.
“Their current school backpack could work too if that is enough space to hold everything,” she said. “Whatever you use, at the end of each school work session, it all gets packed up and set aside, ready for tomorrow.”
For more tips on creating a space for learning at home without creating a whole homeschool room, you can check out “Yes, You Can Homeschool Without a Homeschool Room!” at The Home School Mom (thehomeschoolmom.com).
For those in multi-family residential communities
If you are in an apartment or condominium community, you will want to find out from the property manager about rules for the common areas, as well as determine Wi-Fi access.
“We know that so many people already work from home, so we like to create our work-live-play environments equipped with private nooks where someone can kick back and work in a clubroom, a coffee bar or pool cabana,” Hyde said.
You also can check to see whether you have access to an onsite private conference room or workspace, which come in particularly handy for important work-from-home presentations. Broadstone Vilara in Laguna Niguel, for example, offers a conference room with a large screen and stylish décor like a marbled large table and wicker chairs with plush blue cushions. Vision on Wilshire and DaVinci apartments in Los Angeles, Seacrest Homes Apartments in Torrance, Avalon Studio City, The Trails at Canyon Crest in Riverside and City Lights at Town Center in Aliso Viejo are just a few of the other communities that offer this amenity.
Read the original article here.