My home office: Kelly Williams
Now that more San Diegans are working from home, we’re taking a peek into makeshift offices around the county.
Name: Kelly Williams
Back story: Williams, who grew up in Ireland, attended both University of San Diego and California Western School of Law. After working in Las Vegas for a few years, she returned to Southern California and co-founded Slate Law Group, where she currently works as the managing partner.
WFH situation: Due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, Williams now lives and works in her San Diego home, which overlooks Balboa Park. “I feel so grateful to be surrounded by nature and this community every day,” she said. “This house has beautiful original wood flooring, a modern flair and large windows which let in a lot of sunlight.”
Time for a desk: After spending the first few weeks of quarantine working out of her walk-in closet, Williams decided to officially section off part of her bedroom and convert it into a home office. She bought a large glass desk, which is kept clear of distractions to help create “a sense of calm and consistency.”
However, Williams does add personal touches to her workspace like photos of her father and kids for motivation, as well as flowers that “brighten up the room and bring an element of nature into an otherwise technology-heavy setting.” The minimalist desk is accompanied by a sofa, placed six feet away for colleagues during social-distanced visits.
Staying tidy: To keep organized, Williams has leaned into digitizing her work. “I am constantly reviewing work for associates, so keeping an organized desk is necessary. I most recently added an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to my tool set to reduce the need to print everything for me to review.”
From the closet to the front porch: Though her new bedroom office has become a WFH base, Williams often finds herself working throughout the house. “I still work in multiple locations around my home, although I try to keep it consistent for the sake of productivity ... (but) my kids often dictate my space, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In addition to her kids’ needs, the nature of Williams’ work also keeps her moving. “I might be handling a telephonic court hearing from the closet or negotiating case settlement from the front porch. This current dynamic has kept the workday interesting.” With all the variables, she tries to keep some daily constants in her life non-negotiable — like coffee every morning, along with daily check-ins with her business partner about deadlines.
New co-workers: Williams is a single mom with three kids at home — all under the age of 5. While she has two nannies that help with her children during work hours, it has still been a challenge for her to find a work/home balance.
“It’s crazy for me to think of how other single moms are handling things during this time while they work. Even with plenty of childcare support, this does not prevent my kids from making a surprise appearance during meetings!” Luckily, Williams said her team is supportive, and many of their own children also make cameos on video calls.
State of transition: While Williams and her team continue to work from home, the company is starting to dip their toes back into the office world. Employees currently have the option to work out of Slate Law Group’s temporary downtown office space, located at the University Club atop Symphony Towers, twice a week — but only those who feel comfortable to do so.
“The key word here is ‘optional’ … I can’t stress enough how important it is to prioritize the mental health of your employees,” Williams said. “It is important for employers to understand how difficult this entire process has been on their employees and to be empathetic of the transition back to office life. We all need time to get used to not being at home, to waking up earlier, to dressing up, and to getting back to our regular routines.”
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