For those that cannot use their usual work environment, but able to WFH (Work from home), it feels like a global experiment, where we now understand more than ever - in some respects - the importance of the work environment. It's perhaps evident that a good amount of the population are experiencing a great psychological impact from introducing or even continuing to work from home (for those that used to, but perhaps under a smaller population at home).
The home is an intimate, private space, be it of any size, shape or location. Ideally it should feel safe and secure, but most importantly comfortable. Comfortable in a sense that it's where you might feel the most relaxed, feel a sense of ownership (as in your space, not necessarily rent vs purchase), obtain an escape from public, noise and work. Coming home, going home feels an alien thing to say now that we are staying home.
In contrast, the work environment is an escape from home as well a place to focus and innovate. The work environment has infrastructure, technology, colleagues, references - it's a purpose built space for doing our jobs. A work environment is vastly different from the home environment and how it typically is designed and built around families, lifestyle and living.
What does this mean? It's less "working from home" (WFH), and feels more like "live at work"(LAW). For most, the work environment is where we spend more time than home. Now, many of us have adapted our homes for work - and for most, this might go on for a while longer as the nature of how we work takes a big turn. It's definitely a fortunate stance that some of us are able to even work from home, but there's an impact that might be affecting us all which needs addressing.
Perhaps it's an opportunity to create tiny hubs that are near our homes. Even if going to the "office" becomes a thing again, we might still need something in between. There, we can attempt some form of social engagement, create high focus spaces, offer a space away from home, reduce the stress on transport and infrastructure, make more efficient use of time (I'm thinking the loss of time during public transport delays, closures and upsets).
I feel a permanent LAW will undermine the purpose of the home, unless the home itself becomes something like a mixed use development. Not many of us can afford or achieve (logistically and/or financially) a detached space with sufficient infrastructure and amenities within the home boundary. Whatever this might look like or achieve for us, when we do return to a place of work, I'm hoping for a much less crowded public transport system.
- Go Sugimoto
*Also copy pasted to my photography page as trying to reach a wider audience