Designing From Home

Tips From SNHA’s Remote Workers

With the sweeping move across the U.S. to work from home, we asked a couple of our WFH veterans, Hannah Prevedel-Cannon, LEED AP and John Gleichman, AIA, to share their personal experiences and best advice for those adjusting to their new in-home office.  

What are your top tips for working from home efficiently?  

Hannah: Take advantage of the difference in situation.  I love being able to do little things like have a candle burning at my desk.  Also, keep your “office space” clean. Having my home tidy has a big impact on my mood in general, and work is no different. 

John: If you can’t work in isolation from your loved ones (including pets) . . . noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend! 

What do you enjoy most about working from home?  

Hannah:I really enjoy the flexibility and extra time I’ve gained in the day.  Where I used to eat out all the time, now I can make lunch at work.  I’ve also joined a gym near our neighborhood that allows me to exercise over the lunch break. 

John: Minimal interruptions when you’re in the “zone.” 

Are there times you’d rather have more face-to-face interactions with coworkers? Or does technology bridge the gap?   

Hannah: Most of the time technology bridges the gap, but I miss the ease of a quick spontaneous conversation when it’s needed.

John: As a legally-blind person, I have a built-in advantage when it comes to “face-to-face” communications—working via email and telephone works just fine! 

What misconceptions about working remotely have you heardand want to stop?   

Hannah: That you don’t wear pants. I ALWAYS wear pants. 

John: The biggest misconception about working from home is that it’s inefficient—it’s not!  It allows you to find, and “perfect,” your optimum working “cadence.”  Everyone is different—for me, I’m most focused and productive between 10 pm and 4 am… certainly not your typical office hours. 

What is your favorite caffeine delivery?  

Hannah: Lots of coffee in the morning.  A little tea in the afternoon. 

John: Lots of Italian roast coffee ground for a No. 4 filter. 

Do you have a work muse?  

Hannah: My dog Stella—when she rests her chin on my knee I always seem to find a fresh way to approach a design issue.  Not really, but being able to be with her so much of the time is really special.  

John: My muse is HD radio . . . for me, it’s jazz.  No commercials, no talking, no interruptions, and no “lost thoughts” on what to play next!  The upbeat tempo makes me type faster! 

While you might not have an assistant as good as Stella to help you through that design challenge you’re facing down, we hope these tips offer an extra ounce of inspiration to find comfortand balancein your current work environment.