When we left our office on March 13th, we thought we’d be back in a few weeks. A couple of months, tops. 

It has been 7 months, and there is still no sign of when we may return to the office and things will be back to normal – if there even is such a thing as “normal” anymore. 

Before March 13th, the Code Studio team worked in a small, shared, open space with a constant soundtrack of team discussions, collaborative design work, and an always questionable Spotify playlist chosen by whoever was lucky enough to get control of the speaker that day.

Now, we work separately in our own homes, individually mastering the arts of Slack and ignoring the sounds of our loved ones. Transitioning to a work-from-home format was extremely challenging with having to adjust to new daily routines, carving out productive workspaces in our homes, and developing an entirely new work process while continuing to produce and deliver to our clients. For our small firm, where synergistic collaboration is a vital component of our daily workflow, learning to stay connected to and communicate effectively with each other has been the greatest test for each of us. 

Some staff brought home their desks from the office while others DIY’d new work spaces.

But through this challenge we have learned, adapted, and, in many ways, improved. Working-from-home has provided many benefits and taught us lessons that we will carry forward into our new “normal”. 

Working from home has made us realize the importance of taking breaks. Many of our staff have found it easier to take multiple, smaller breaks throughout the day while working at home – whether it be a quick walk around the block with the dog, or getting a chore done around the house. Getting up and moving more frequently makes the time spent at our desks feel easier, and even seems to increase productivity. 

Working from home has also given each of us a little extra time each day – the time that normally would have been spent getting ready for and commuting to and from work. Many of us spend it going for a daily run, extending our morning yoga sessions, or giving our dogs a bit of a longer walk. While some like to use the time to get a little extra work done.

A view from one of Chumba’s morning runs in Portland.

The dogs of Code Studio are loving the extra walk time.

Embracing working from home has led to the hiring of our first out-of-state team member – something that we probably wouldn’t have considered doing before. Our new intern is based in Portland, Oregon and we’re excited to potentially further expand our team with more out-of-state hires. 

Of course the greatest benefit of working from home has been the opportunity to spend more time with our families, locally and across the country. Many of our staff were able to travel to see their families for extended periods of time while working remotely. Some went as far as Washington, Montana and North Carolina. We’re thrilled to now know that working as a team remotely is possible, and to be able to allow our team to travel like this more in the future.

The view from nearby John’s home office in Montana.

Kelsey spent a month working from eastern North Carolina.

When off the clock, Kevin hiked in his home state of Washington.

It may be a while before our team is together in the office again. And it most certainly will never be the same that it was. We’ll have to continue to figure out how to see each other and stay connected in our new “normal” – but for now our weekly “Happy Hour” zoom calls will have to suffice.

One Comment

  • Mark says:

    As an urban design professional working from home has been difficult. I miss the collaboration and probably because I’m a bit on the older side, have never found online collaboration to fill that void. You seem like a great bunch.
    I’m back in a different office now as Covid OMICRON seems to have leveled out but I do get to work from home from time to time and agree with your observations about increased productivity. Cheers to you all.

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