#WFH in Milan // Lullu Brandt

April 2020

With the scent of minty mist sprayed in the air, Lullu Brandt sits at her new workstation at home while her toddler, Verde, plays on the other end.  Like countless others, Lullu, an art director, has found a way to adjust to the current normal, as COVID-19 has upended all regular routines. Fortunate to have both work and a home into which to retreat, she’s adapted her home to accommodate the various roles she needs to play throughout her day.

In her 900-square-foot apartment in the Porta Venezia neighborhood of Milan, Lullu shares desk space with her husband Simone, who is also, of course, working from home.  They have positioned their work table on one end of the room, and conceded the other side with its large sunny window to their daughter’s play area. Their table is dedicated only to work – they have a separate area for dining.  The work space is kept very minimal and tidy, and the desk drawers allow each person to store their work-related paraphernalia once they are finished.  While taking turns at the table, they alternate on who is attending to Verde throughout the day.

The actual activity of working has also taken a new dimension, as it is all conducted exclusively via video conferencing.  For Lullu, who loves working with people in situ, this has not been a direct replacement for in-person meetings. the communication at critical phases of projects can be difficult remotely; if there are misunderstandings, they are more challenging to resolve within a Zoom meeting.  More than ever, there needs to be an increased amount of effort to make sure that communication is flowing well.

Moving forward, Lullu hopes to have a slightly larger apartment where she can have a dedicated office.  Despite her best efforts to create a productive work environment at home, the space in which she sits now is still at times distracting, and on more formal video conferences, it’s difficult to maintain a sense of professionalism while keeping a watchful eye on a toddler across the room. Still, she hopes that whatever comes after the current crisis, companies based in Milan will be more open to working from home, or ‘smart working’, as it is referred to locally. While there has not always been a receptive attitude towards working from home, this pandemic era is showing that it is indeed possible and, with some adjustments, can open up a whole new facet of working culture in Milan.

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