The Future of Work: Smita Khanna on Interior Design And Flexible Workspaces

Verve People

While #WorkFromHome is standard protocol now and many have come to find comfort in this arrangement, that isn’t possible for many professionals in industries which necessarily require the workplace to be outside their homes. In our new series #TheFutureOfWork, we talk to individuals whose nature of work doesn’t allow them to log on remotely and ask them how they envision their industries changing in a post-lockdown era. Here, we chat with Smita Khanna, architect, interior designer and co-founder, NOTE-D.

As an architect, how has your day-to-day work been impacted?
It’s a new way of working but I’m optimistic that it’s shedding light on the future of work spaces. The abrupt and forced intersection between work and one’s personal space has been interesting. In the past we’ve been made to believe that this wasn’t possible in a healthy way. The positive outcome of the quarantine has shown us that we can do this, albeit with a bit of trial and error, successfully!

As an architect, it is lovely to get time and respect to follow the stages of design without the pressing rush to hit the site, which often happens prematurely. We have been having interesting design discussions and getting time to explore ideas in a new way, with much patience & dedication from our team and clients.

What are some of the ways that you are keeping yourself occupied? Where do you find comfort?
Fortunately, we got ‘stranded’ at our home in Alibag with minimal digital access. It’s been refreshing to explore the outdoors with our baby and see things from her perspective. We insect watch, sing with the birds and pick food from our small farm so we can cook together. We also have very few store-bought toys and books for Mira here and it’s given us the opportunity to invent, create and make which we really wouldn’t have in a typical situation.

How do you truly feel about having to bring your work into your home environment, if at all? Are there any ideas you find yourself contemplating?
Since starting work we’ve been striving to find a distinction between home and work life. It feels great to stop fighting this, to welcome work in and still find a balance. As a new mum I feel optimistic that we can make this into a sustainable working situation in the future.

What do you think is the future of brick and mortar in India? How will you pivot or make changes to your business if social distancing becomes the norm?
Mumbai is a hard city to navigate with distances and quality of workspaces. We would like to adopt not only flexible work hours but flexible workspaces for our team! It seems that as a collective we have taken the responsibility to make each project as masterful even through these new circumstances. Working from home or alternate spaces should be available to everyone.

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