In Indre-et-Loire, the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic coincides with the beginning of March 2020. Yes, it’s been a year. 12 months that seem like an eternity to us. What can be retained cold? What feeling? What lessons? Today we are talking about it with Barbara Chabbal, interior designer at Fondettes (her agency is called Interior Vôtre and it has been in existence since 2018).
The coronavirus crisis has led to a great acceleration in teleworking, a solution favored by the government and companies with the aim of slowing down the epidemic. The consequence is that you have received a lot of requests to set up an office at his home …
Before the pandemic, it was a very sporadic request: teleworking had begun to develop, but rather in connection with the ecological question to reduce transport times. For comfort of life, some people wanted to set up an office at home to work there one or two days a week. With the first confinement in 2020, it has become 5 days a week and mandatory for some employees, therefore a very strong demand because working at home is not putting yourself on a corner of the table. It does not work. We are disturbed, we have plenty of things to do … So the idea is to install an office with a beautiful light (near a window), in a quiet place and a space really dedicated to professional activity .
Does that mean you need a room reserved for teleworking?
The situation is not comparable if you live in a house with a garden or a 24m² studio, but ideally yes. Even if it is the guest room because it is not used permanently to receive. You can even set up a double office if the couple works at home. If you do not have a dedicated room, you can install an office area in non-optimized spaces of the house: under a staircase, in an entrance or a hallway, on a mezzanine … For example, you can choose a wall secretary that folds up and this space will be distinguished with filters such as a glass roof, a separating library or green plants. It will make it possible to create a beautiful one where we can work properly.
Make you feel at home … but not too much?
You have to feel at home and personalize this place with photos, little flowers… but not too much. It must remain a tidy place. Above all, we will bring back things that make us happy, such as colors that make us feel good. Unlike a company, we can choose them so let’s go. For example, green is a color that soothes, which is conducive to concentration. The orange color and its variations such as terracotta which I like a lot and which is very fashionable is very good for creativity and productivity. These are the colors that stimulate us. You can also use wallpapers to delimit your office space. A place where we will feel good because we are the ones who created it.
So we don’t necessarily need to do heavy work?
If we have a plot of land we can invest in a cabin of less than 20m² in the style tiny house in order to have an additional room. This makes it possible to separate the professional and domestic space and not to mix everything between personal and personal life. It is the heaviest arrangement. It costs 15-20,000 € but in the long term it’s cheaper than a coworking office. Afterwards, on a low budget, you can fit out on a section of wall, in a closet. At home, my office space is an old wardrobe. I had a small custom-made shelf fitted with a sliding top and I closed it with glass doors. I have shelves, all my files available… I’m fine there. And once I have finished my work I close the door and everything disappears. It’s important to feel good, to settle down properly so as not to suffer from pain, for example.
Are the people you meet aware of these issues?
At first not so much. Everything happened very quickly, we found ourselves under house arrest and we settled where we could. Today, the clients who call me are because they realize that they are disturbed in their work, they are not productive enough or even completely stressed, overwhelmed. Travel time between home and work was a pressure relief valve for them. Now that we don’t have that anymore, we go from personal to professional life all at once. The stress of one or the other mixes up and it increases the difficulties. So now people are looking for solutions to have a break between the two, to be as effective in all areas of their lives. And it is true that by small subtle arrangements, a simple paint stroke, we can make a difference.
You also tell us to pay attention to the scenery behind us in the event of a video meeting …
Pay attention to the harmony and the decor: your colleagues and your chefs can see what’s going on. Hence the interest of thinking about the location of your office. These people will come into your privacy. Somewhere it’s very intrusive, it can be disturbing. So check that it’s tidy, that there is a beautiful wallpaper. And if we have animals, be careful that the cat does not jump on the keyboard during the meeting.
Apart from the telework aspect, have you seen any new requests linked to the Covid crisis?
Much on the modularity of spaces. People have noticed that they spend a lot of time in their living room (living room, dining room, open kitchen). We have meals, we play sports while watching tutorials on TV, we play, we do homework … The whole family is there so you need a room that is used for several things. The family room as they say in the United States. So I have fewer requests for parental suites.