This week on the blog we wanted to recap our first mentoring session in our “Architect Up! Life Hacks for Architects” series. We had the opportunity to tour the WeWork and WeLive spaces in Crystal City which showcase the concepts of communal working and living. The WeLive space is one of two that currently exists in the country.
Following the tour we sat down to discuss how these new concepts of work/life balance have impacted productivity and what it means for the design of office spaces. The community manager Alissa Avilov and architect Vinson Camacho weighed in based on their experiences with the programs.
Next up in the series we will be discussing how to harness the power of social media and branding. Register for the second session here.
In anticipation of our upcoming mentoring session at WeWork Crystal City, we asked the community manager Alissa Avilov a few questions about the atmosphere and how she achieves balance between work and life.
1. You are Community Manager at WeWork/WeLive, and also live in the community. For those unfamiliar with the concept, what is your elevator pitch for WeWork/WeLive, in fifty words or less?
WeWork/WeLive is a space that is all about fostering community and collaboration through programming and design. We have offices or apartments combined with communal spaces like pantries, conference rooms, media lounges, chefs kitchens, libraries and yoga studios.
2. This mentoring workshop is focused on work/life balance, a concept architects have been known to struggle with, both in academia and in the profession. What tips do you have for maintaining a healthy balance between one’s work life and one’s home life?
Taking time to do things that will clear your mind – for me that is cooking or taking a walk outside. Also, I’ve learned to be ok with leaving work with a to do list. At first this was a challenge, but I had to realize that I just can’t always get everything done. Accepting this did wonders for me being able to enjoy life when I was not at work (but I still check my phone a lot).
3. By putting one’s workplace and their living space in one building, the WeWork/WeLive model uses the built environment to blur the physical boundary that typically exists between our work lives and our home lives. From a time management standpoint, what are the advantages and disadvantages of living where you work?
The blessing/curse is the commute. Yes, you are saving time but you are also missing out on things like sunlight, me time, and feeling like you are leaving your house and coming to work. What I love is that I can have a long night at work and take 4 seconds to get home, this is really convenient. For me, thinking about things like packing a lunch before coming to work help me manage my time more effectively, but that might not be the case for others.
4. WeWork/WeLive also uses the built environment to encourage interaction via shared spaces: communal kitchens, lounge areas, and workspaces where you may work alongside people in completely unrelated fields. This is also a concept being rolled out in open office settings, including many architecture firms. Overall, what type of feedback has this “unsiloing” yielded at WeWork/WeLive?
This is what we are all about. I think it’s especially interesting with WeLive because we’ve shifted so far away from this in our tech fueled lives. To encourage people to look up from their phones and say hi to a neighbor, or come to a wine tasting with people they don’t know in their building, has actually yielded pretty special results. People are often hesitant when they move in, and then they end up connecting with others and being grateful for the space.
5. Final question, for the architects in attendance: what is the one design takeaway from the WeWork/WeLive community you would like to see used more widely in workplace or residential design?
The open design that allows people to flow through the space without ever having to run into an awkward corner or anything like that.
For more info on the WeWork community, come check out the tour this Tuesday the 25th at the Crystal City location!
This month begins the mentoring workshop series and our theme for 2017 is Life Hacks for Architects! The goal is to highlight specific skills/topics to help provide attendees with the tools to be an even better professional. The series is shaping up to be really interesting and our first event will be a tour of the WeWork space in Crystal City followed by a round table discussion on work/life balance. Make sure to register here!
2. For all the INTJs that love reading about personality types
3. If you want to become a better leader in the profession:
Applications are live for the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program! This is a program founded by a few EAC members in honor of Christopher Kelley, an influential emerging architect from our chapter. Details about the program can be found on the website and on June 5th there will be an info session on the application process!
4. In case you’re negotiating your raise this week and need a power pose
5. Because your LEED credential is about to expire
This website is a great, free resource for CE credits that apply for both AIA HSW and LEED!