Remote working – a new normal

Pablo Villahoz says it’s improved his work-life balance. Thenia Patka says she’s inspired by the colours and textures of her home city.

Two of Box’s architects are putting the stresses of COVID-19 behind them and adapting to the new normal – by working from home in Spain and Greece. According to Box CEO Graham Place, it could be the shape of things to come.

“The coronavirus pandemic has encouraged us to look at new ways of working, with some very positive benefits,” said Graham. “Working remotely is not the nightmare we feared it might be.”

Pablo was previously based in Box’s London studio, but found himself working from home in March. He said: “After three months of lockdown working from my tiny flat, with no certainty about when we would be returning to the office, I was offered the chance to continue working from my hometown in the southwest of Spain.

“During those tough months when all my outdoor life was reduced to an hour of daily exercise, I had proved to myself that I could be as productive as I was in the office, or even more. Now I’m able to spend some of my free time with family and friends, as well as enjoying the Andalusian sunshine, I get an extra boost – which helps me increase my work motivation.”

Meanwhile, Thenia, who studied in Athens and London, is planning to divide her time permanently between Greece and the UK. She recently worked remotely on a project to fit-out VW’s new UK customer experience centre in Leeds for global outsourcing firm TTEC.

Drawing heavily on Thenia’s design expertise, the project combined contemporary finishes, clean lines and a vibrant colour palette to create a bright and comfortable workspace for the 300-plus staff.

“We’re finding that people are more productive, often more client-focused, and are enjoying a better work-life balance. It’s definitely something we’ll be considering adopting permanently – allowing us to recruit and retain some of the brightest talent from Europe, but also from other parts of the UK too.”

Graham Place, CEO, Box Architects