Urban Arena Works From Home

Urban Arena implemented a work from home option office-wide last year, where employees were allowed to work remotely on an alternating schedule. What started out as a trial run, ended up being a permanent fixture into the UA Way. We felt that this came at the right time, as it prepared us for the unexpected consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak has caused us to all work remotely. It allows us to keep working without missing a beat. Ellie Gaffo, a Project Manager at our San Diego office, describes more in depth on her experiences of WFH:

Hello All.  My name is Ellie, I have been a project manager at Urban Arena, San Diego since 2013.  A little about me: I went to school for Landscape Architecture at the greatest college ever, Cal Poly SLO (not Pomona).  I’m a mother of one, soon to be two this summer. I love to run, hike, swim, kick box and Netflix binge.

A great benefit of working from home for me has been not commuting during the morning rush hour traffic.  I love that I don’t have to hurry to get my daughter to preschool. Instead of being stuck in traffic I am able to enjoy the morning, walking my daughter to school. I even have the opportunity to chat with her teachers and some of my friends.

As far as professional efficiency, work from home is beneficial because there are no office distractions.  I have a home office so I’m able to close the door, turn on my favorite tunes and get to work.  I feel more productive to knock out my projects and most of the time work a little longer to get all the items needing to be completed on any given day.  The time goes by so fast when I am working on a project that does not require much collaboration.  I also feel more comfortable to talk on the phone with vendors and clients without the regular office chitter chatter in the background.

With all the benefits there are a few disadvantages about working from home, one being the collaboration from other designers in the office. Having the opportunity to bounce ideas off of one another is such a major part of the design process. In order to keep the integral office collaboration you really do have to organize your week in a way that allows for more independent work on work from home days and design collaboration on the days in the office. This also means getting all the questions you need answered during the normal week days in order to complete any given project in a timely manner. 

All in all working from home has been a great success and is something I look to be a great part of my workflow.

We also did a survey office-wide and got some input on about the Pros and Cons of WFH:

Pros

  • No commute – save environment, save money on gas, extra hour of sleep for far commuters
  • No problem working in your PJs
  • Can work anywhere (of course only at home right now)
  • Spend more time with family, loved ones, and pets
  • Having the window office with a view
  • Minimal office distractions – maximize efficiency
  • I can blast my own music
  • My workspace is my own
  • 3 o’clock walks are more scenic than just the parking lot

Cons

  • Less opportunity for quick and easy in-office collaboration
  • No snack bar and missing Bagel Wednesdays
  • Not seeing each other all the time – missing that office culture!
  • Adjusting to a home office and workstation vs an office workstation set up already

Check out these pictures of how some of our team members are set up in their home offices. As you can see, everyone has their own ideas of their perfect office set up


Rex Cayabyab
rex@urbanarena.com
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