Working from Home

One of history’s positive lessons—along with its many smackdowns and body slams—is what we might call the resilience of ordinary life. From ancient plagues through modern wars one human trait has been consistent: the eagerness to cope, the determination of people to get on with their lives.

Last week at the direction of local and state officials, O+A like most companies in California, sent its staffers home. We went home, but we didn’t shut down our operation. We are lucky to be in a business much of which can be conducted remotely and to have a staff of professionals who are dedicated to seeing a job through whatever adversities assail it. That was clear before the pandemic and it’s even more clear now.

Interior design is a team effort, and teams typically like to play on the same field, but we’ve been impressed by the energy and ingenuity O+A’s designers have brought to working from home. We checked in last week with some of our sheltering-in-place soloists to find out how they’re getting along. 

Kaylen Parker / Design Assistant

I’m definitely improvising. I don’t have the perfect desk-to-seat configuration to be able to sit comfortably at home for extended periods. Also wires. They’re everywhere! But remoting into my desktop at work works wonderfully. It needs a reset now and then, but accessing teammates is easy. A simple call and I’m connected. Luckily I have people to interact with here. Otherwise I’d feel very isolated. What do I miss? My dual monitor, O+A’s tea selection and Lauren Perich’s laugh.

Elias Horat / Designer

First day I was a little restless. I hate waiting on technology or Internet issues. But it just kept going more and more smoothly. I love my office space at home. It is in my room, but I separated my sleeping area from my work area with a plant. That way I feel like I still “go to work.” Main distraction is restless friends trying to get in contact. My phone is on silent and only used for music unless I’m on a break.  Singing along with my music is by far my favorite part of working from home. No major glitches so far, but we did have a team member who didn’t know their camera was on. We’re on a huge forced learning curve, and when it’s all done, we’ll be stronger and be able to work in so many different ways than before.

Tannaz Torabi / Designer

I have a small desk and outdoor chair (not a proper task chair). Having the monitor and laptop working on large files has been a challenge. There is always a morning glitch when I open my laptop but the old technique of restart till it works, is still working. I have ten other housemates, and we are spread over two floors. I am on the first floor and every ten minutes I jump off my chair because they run, or dance or drop something and I hear it like a loud noise. When this is over? I hope everyone comes back healthy and safe—and personally to have a different insight towards life.

Jen Baran / Designer

I am using this time to really get myself on a healthy routine: cooking instead of take-out, and going for runs/bike rides to get fresh air.

Kayla Goldberg / Designer 

Definitely improvising with the limited space we have in our apartment. I’m currently sharing my dining table ‘workstation’ with an in-progress puzzle. I miss all the wonderful faces of O+A, although I don’t mind working from my living room in comfortable clothes and extra time with my puppy! Once this has all passed, this is going to be an interesting case study for our team to explore. I would be interested to see how many companies view work from home as a success and what companies may have had more trouble. I could see this playing into further development of technology, and possibly even shrinking office footprints. What am I looking forward to? Practicing yoga in the studio surrounded by community, happy hour with friends, and definitely travel!

Chelsea Hedrick / Project Designer – Brand

Trying to stick to my normal routine as much as possible, but it was a little difficult staying focused for the full 10hrs of work as Kiddee is working at home too (He is a senior designer at SFMOMA). We are improvising, currently using our kitchen table as our workspace since there are two of us. Our spare bedroom has become the gym, etc. Have to take turns using the bedroom / livingroom to take conference calls that are scheduled at the same time. Lol. My distractions are mostly Hiro (our dog) 🙂 I resist him as much as I can but he also gives me a good excuse to take him outside for bathroom breaks and for me to breathe fresh air and keep my sanity. When it’s over? Work wise – I look forward to hearing everyone’s experiences and just seeing and working with everyone again. Life wise – Can’t wait to sit in a cafe, go out to the movies, or even just sneeze on public transportation without being judged 🙂

Alexis Kraft / Senior Project Manager

I am a person who requires human contact. I need to have face-to-face communication daily in order to feel sane. Human interaction is obviously being discouraged right now. More than anything else this is driving me to distraction. When it’s over, I plan on doing anything to get into social situations, such as group bike rides, concerts, dining out (of course!), museums, parties, talks, generally being around people. Which of course includes being in the office around people! On the other hand…there was a very cute interaction between teammates this afternoon so that an exchange of some tech could take place.