The difference between self-isolating in my tiny NYC apartment and holing up in my family's home in Austin taught me how crucial physical space is when working from home

NYC vs Austin work from home setup

Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Working from home and quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic is much easier from my Austin house than it was from my Brooklyn apartment.

  • The company I work for recently went fully remote in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • I worked in my tiny apartment in NYC for one week before traveling to my family's house in Austin to wait out the pandemic.
  • It wasn't until I got to Austin, though, that I realized how important it is to have a lot of physical space when working from home.
  • Since moving my home office to my family's house in Austin, I've found it easier and more pleasant to work from home, and this is primarily because I have so much more space.
  • Working from home in two different cities and living spaces during the coronavirus pandemic taught me the significance of physical space, even when all you need to do your job is a laptop and a camera.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
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I started working from home inside my apartment in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, where I share a bathroom, kitchen, and living room with two roommates.

I started working from home inside my apartment in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, where I share a bathroom, kitchen, and living room with two roommates.

At the beginning of the week, I was the only roommate working from home, so I took control of our little kitchen table from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day with no conflicts ...

At the beginning of the week, I was the only roommate working from home, so I took control of our little kitchen table from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day with no conflicts ...

... but by the end of the week, all three of us were working from home due to the spread of the coronavirus in New York, so I moved my office to my bedroom.

... but by the end of the week, all three of us were working from home due to the spread of the coronavirus in New York, so I moved my office to my bedroom.

It's worth noting here that my bedroom is the tiniest one in our apartment — no bigger than 150 square feet ...

It's worth noting here that my bedroom is the tiniest one in our apartment — no bigger than 150 square feet ...

... but I picked it for a reason — it's the only bedroom with its own fire escape, which is much more important to me than having room for activities.

... but I picked it for a reason  — it's the only bedroom with its own fire escape, which is much more important to me than having room for activities.

During that week of quarantine in Brooklyn, I worked on my fire escape every day that the weather allowed.

During that week of quarantine in Brooklyn, I worked on my fire escape every day that the weather allowed.

While I enjoyed working outside in the sun, the discomfort of my window ledge seat started to get to me. Sitting on your fire escape is nicer when you're not doing it for hours at a time.

While I enjoyed working outside in the sun, the discomfort of my window ledge seat started to get to me. Sitting on your fire escape is nicer when you're not doing it for hours at a time.

March in New York doesn't allow for a comfy outdoor workspace every day, so I also spent a lot of time in my room, using my bed as my desk.

March in New York doesn't allow for a comfy outdoor workspace every day, so I also spent a lot of time in my room, using my bed as my desk.

Aside from the fact that my room is small, my colleagues that have worked from home in the past recommend designating a workspace in your home that's not in the same space where you relax.

Aside from the fact that my room is small, my colleagues that have worked from home in the past recommend designating a workspace in your home that's not in the same space where you relax.

Source: Business Insider

While that wasn't an option for me, I decided my desk chair would be my designated workspace, while my bed was my designated relaxing space.

While that wasn't an option for me, I decided my desk chair would be my designated workspace, while my bed was my designated relaxing space.

Needless to say, this wasn't ideal — but it's what I had to work with at the time.

Needless to say, this wasn't ideal — but it's what I had to work with at the time.

Cut to the following week, and my home office has completely changed.

Cut to the following week, and my home office has completely changed.

I'm now working remotely from my family's home in Austin, Texas, which comes with several perks.

I'm now working remotely from my family's home in Austin, Texas, which comes with several perks.

First off, I have plenty of space to move around. I no longer feel cramped.

First off, I have plenty of space to move around. I no longer feel cramped.

I also have several spaces to do work. When I work from the Insider office in New York, I like to move to different desks and tables around the office several times a day.

I also have several spaces to do work. When I work from the Insider office in New York, I like to move to different desks and tables around the office several times a day.

At my home office in Austin, I hop around from the living room ...

At my home office in Austin, I hop around from the living room ...

... to the kitchen ...

... to the kitchen ...

... to the patio throughout the day.

... to the patio throughout the day.

The patio is much more comfortable than my fire escape in Brooklyn ...

The patio is much more comfortable than my fire escape in Brooklyn ...

... and the temperature in Austin — at this moment — is more pleasant than the temperature in New York. If I have any regrets about quarantining here, it's that I didn't bring enough shorts.

... and the temperature in Austin — at this moment — is more pleasant than the temperature in New York. If I have any regrets about quarantining here, it's that I didn't bring enough shorts.

There are other perks about working from my family's Austin home too, like having three dogs to cuddle.

There are other perks about working from my family's Austin home too, like having three dogs to cuddle.

And there are more windows, which means more natural light flooding into my office all day.

And there are more windows, which means more natural light flooding into my office all day.

My house in Austin also has a workout room with an elliptical and a treadmill.

My house in Austin also has a workout room with an elliptical and a treadmill.

I don't regularly workout, but my daily commute into my NYC office usually includes about a half-mile of walking and 15 flights of stairs round-trip.

I don't regularly workout, but my daily commute into my NYC office usually includes about a half-mile of walking and 15 flights of stairs round-trip.

So exercising during my self-isolation has helped me stay in shape and relieve work-related stress.

So exercising during my self-isolation has helped me stay in shape and relieve work-related stress.

I also have a bathroom to myself in my family's Austin house. Sharing a bathroom with two roommates in NYC is inconvenient when everyone is always home.

I also have a bathroom to myself in my family's Austin house. Sharing a bathroom with two roommates in NYC is inconvenient when everyone is always home.

I miss New York, but face-timing my friends from my family's Austin house is no different from face-timing them in my apartment in Brooklyn. Either way, we're social distancing.

I miss New York, but face-timing my friends from my family's Austin house is no different from face-timing them in my apartment in Brooklyn. Either way, we're social distancing.

After a week of working from home in each home, I've found that having more physical space relieves some unnecessary stress while working from home.

After a week of working from home in each home, I've found that having more physical space relieves some unnecessary stress while working from home.
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