We are all starting to learn more about ways to better communicate virtually and have a healthier ‘life’ and ‘work’ ‘from home’ experience. It’s heart-warming to know that there are many virtual ways connect with each other. But it’s also good to ‘feel’ the ‘feeling’ of not being able to have much physical and social interaction.
I had a great coffee catch up with my neighbor the other day in our shared back yard (while keeping our 2 meter social distance;). We were both admitting that this circumstance can be a sad and stressful situation. But perhaps it also means that we can use this time and energy often spent on travels to work or at cafes and restaurants for tuning in and spending time on things that boosts our creativity, makes us feel better and even more productive. In many practices like architecture and design and perhaps for all of us (as we are all creative beings), this also means that we have more time for working on a passion project that’s been waiting in our journal or sitting at the back of our mind and never had the chance to manifest them. We can also start self-teaching a program or a technology, read a new book or start watching a new webinar series that we always thought we would need as part of our skills and never had the time to learn.
This self- isolation situation reminds me of a period of time when I had to spent long hours at home (not due to health reasons but for personal reasons), which wound up the most productive and constructive time intellectually and spiritually. In those few months I finally had the chance to materialize couple of my creative design ideas and also reflect more on social and cultural issues in society. I developed the design and research project on ‘Integrative housing, home, work, wellness’ based on the experience of having to live work and move in my apartment building. At the time in 2018, I never thought this would become the reality of our life in two years time. I actually got questioned few times about why we may have to anticipate in most of our activities from ‘home’?!. I was designing this project based on my experience of spending more time in contemplation, meditation and experiencing what I had not gone through previously. I could better identify with more vulnerable communities with sensitive physical or emotional abilities and reflect that in my design. For example I could better see and understand the life of an elderly who spends long hours at home or young single female households and their needs.
In my experience, one of the downsides of spending long living and working at/from home was lack of enough physical activity and movement, despite my routine daily exercise outdoor. This also led to establishing human movement as one of the important bases of this project, where people are encouraged to have different forms of movement inside and in the shared spaces of their homes (Please check for more info). These days with the closure of gyms and other wellness studio, it becomes really important to be mindful of our daily movement to reduce stress and stay healthy. In this project I also reflected on new or appearing modes of working, like working from home or co-working and how we could balance life and work with the spatial integration. This is reflected in the design models such as the micro housing concept design project (Dine-amyc) where vertical movement becomes the transition space between different functions of the house.
While the uncertainty during this time could feel unsettling and at times scary but we need to know that there is a reason behind every happening in life. We still have many options to boost the ‘good’ feeling from simply reading books to learning new skills, working on a creative project or just slowing down our pace by having more mindful moments.