Home. It’s the essence of so much of our work here at SALA, but who could have guessed at the beginning of 2020 we’d be spending so much time each in our own? When Covid-19 declared it would not be leaving as spontaneously and quickly as it arrived, we at SALA gathered our essential tools—laptops, pencils, sketch paper, construction drawings—and decamped for the relative safety of our homes where the work that continued, well, continued.
We adapted to our new environs, as architects, designers and technicians, but also as collaborators, teachers, daycare providers, and caregivers. Not always in harmony, but inevitably learning new skills and taking on unexpected responsibilities to face the many challenges and revelations of 2020.
Not the least of these was staying connected and remaining engaged while working from home. Our bimonthly all-staff lunch meetings were replaced with a virtual array of work/life vignettes, leading to discussions of who enjoyed the best daylight or ergonomic comforts. A Slack channel—our virtual watercooler, if you need a real-life comparison—elicited a never-ending stream of comic revelations, delicious recipes, and priceless photos! Lastly, a weekly happy hour—something we could never sustain in our previous working life—found a solid footing on Thursday afternoons via Zoom, providing glimpses and stories of pets and kids and parents and partners, the depth and breadth of life outside the office.
After months of two-dimensional socializing, a few colleagues coordinated a responsibly distanced Thursday happy hour at a riverside yard on a beautiful fall afternoon. I don’t think any of us would choose to relive this past year, but the results of being forced to connect in new ways, to share what’s happening in each of our lives from the places we live them was profound.
Our annual holiday photo looks different this year, but so does our outlook. There will come a time again when we can be together in person, and we will celebrate it with new appreciation. From our homes to yours, we wish you peace, wellness, and community in 2021!