Talk About It
From the Desk of an Architect: Sam Stribling, AIA
Sam Stribling, AIA, #KeepinItReal for us this week for "From the Desk of an Architect."
What is your favorite/most meaningful object at your workspace?
The only thing really keeping me awake is my trusty three-or-four Dr Peppers every day. Sure, it’s a lot of sugar, but we’re not allowed to see the dentist so what they don’t know won’t hurt me. I’m pretty sure that’s how that saying goes.
What are your tips for staying productive while working from home?
Remaining consistently productive has been an enormous challenge. I admire and envy those with the resources to retreat and focus – I desperately miss my desk at work and my headphones. I do my best to make and maintain a daily schedule / set of goals, with the understanding it could easily derail and I need to remain flexible. I communicate times with my family when I absolutely must be on a call; otherwise work gets done as it can.
How are you staying connected to your team? To your clients?
Our office uses an instant messaging program for immediate communication; otherwise the usual slate of BlueZoomJeansTeams, phone calls, and email to keep in touch. I have contemplated drive-by shout-through-the-window meetings.
How would you manage complex projects with large teams remotely?
Just as the lock-down went into effect, my team was barreling toward a major deadline. Communication and flexibility regarding work schedules (some could only work during the day; others could only work late into the night) were key to keep us on track when in-person interaction became impossible.
What’s your biggest concern about working remotely?
Woody Allen playing poker would be an accurate visualization of my concerns about ongoing remote work. Technical problems, communication problems, lack of personal interaction, at-home distractions, all present every single day. The longer this goes on, the more we have to interact remotely, the more dehumanizing the whole situation becomes.
What would be on your playlist of top 5 go-to songs for work? Have a favorite Spotify playlist for work?
Top 5 Work-From-Home Soundtrack Based on Frequency of Replay:
- Tumble Leaf
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
- Snoopy Come Home (1972)
- Bubble Guppies
- *insert Pixar movie here*
How do you unwind after working from home?
Without a commute there is no break between work time and dad time. I cherish the additional time I am getting with my family that I would otherwise spend at the office or in traffic, but I look forward to the hour or so I have every night after the kids are finally in bed to join my wife in the living room, eat an entire roll of Ritz crackers, and pass out on the couch while watching mid-aught sitcoms.
How are you staying active?
Weather permitting, we do our best as a family to take a daily walk through the neighborhood. Although 2 weeks into the lock-down I broke my toe, so it’s more of a daily hobble.
Any tips for maintaining balance and separating work from home-life?
I’m not afraid to admit I barely know what I’m doing; this does not get easier or less stressful as time goes on. That said, I am extraordinarily lucky that my wife was already stay-at-home and my kids are still very young; although she was prepared to manage the bulk of the daily child-raising activities we do our best to support each other through the day. There is no separation, physically or mentally – there is no place I can go, no “door to close” so to speak. Every day is like an ocean tide – clutter and activities flow in and out of my so-called workspace, when in fact it is family space - this situation has made me an interloper in my own house and a distracting presence. It must be that much more difficult for those with school-age children juggling homeschooling, and perhaps spouses both managing full time jobs, crammed into smaller spaces than mine; this is a trying period and I hope we all weather it in one piece.