Preparing the home for work

Any job whether new or old has familiar patterns to it. There’s a start and end time each day, a place to work, a mental connection with employment, colleagues to collaborate with and tools to conduct work with. The forced shift to bring all of that home is a massive convergence.

The home, which has been a private space, has been at times, a full time work space. People who decide to change careers and work from home with their own business take years to master the art of navigating home and work life. It’s supposed to be a continuously evolving process that was immediately compressed within a very short time. Preparing the home for work is a migration activity that takes an incredible amount of time and effort. Most of us and our homes have been unprepared, and it’s completely understandable.

How prepared were we to work from home?

In our interviews for Dayshift, it does seem obvious to say that kids, our spouse, and even pets are a new type of colleague. What hasn’t been obvious is how they will alter and affect how work is done, how we feel about working this way and how they feel about us working around them. 

There is something about our work life being revealed to the people we live with which is the type of exposure that we and the people we live with weren’t prepared for. We even heard that a pet dog might enjoy having a bit of time alone every once in a while, questioning what are all these humans doing at home all the time? All this in addition to the shift in work where our colleagues are visiting our work at home life, virtually. It’s a lot to take in.

Before the pandemic we only knew what went on at work and at school based on what was reported to us and what we asked about. The people and pets we live with became colleagues, available for perks such as a walk or having lunch together. 

Independence is a challenge to navigate. This can motivate or demotivate, depending on the day, season, and demands of work and home life. It can introduce complexity about who works where, and when, and how we tool up or ration our work-related tasks to do.

Design in context: People may need acquaintances and neutral places for confiding small, but emotionally important matters. Culturally it can change the way we think about the people we live with as their knowledge of work and work-related stress enters the home environment.