Guest author , 30 June 2020

Office/home office

The perfect summer duo for your home office

Janine Rebosura from the agency scharfsinn talks about her experiences and the challenges of working from home as well as the importance of a cool head for the creative process, and why the most beautiful apartment in a historical building is not an enjoyable place to be in summer when the temperature rises. As a stylist and copywriter, Janine Rebosura has an eye for beautiful things. That’s why she chose the sustainable floor fan Otto and Tim, the flexible, mobile table fan. And have these two fans provided the cooling effect that she was looking for?

«If possible, continue to work from home» remains the recommendation of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). OK... so we get to stay at home for a bit longer. Over the past few weeks, we have definitely proven that team meetings and discussions with customers can also be held successfully via Zoom or Skype. And at scharfsinn, we’re used to working out of a mobile studio anyway, whether that’s on a train, in a cosy café or within your own four walls. As copywriters and photographers, we open up our laptops wherever we are at the time – or preferably, used to open them up. That’s because we’d rather not work in a coffee shop at the moment – we’d rather limit ourselves to working from home for the time being. It’s comfortable, cosy and there’s no commuting either – great! There’s just one thing that the people at the FOPH haven’t thought about in all this: how hot it gets in summer! So how on earth am I meant to keep a cool head in my city apartment in an old building?

Effective cooling is essential

I like being at home. Our apartment is wonderfully spacious, flooded with natural light and there’s a different balcony for every time of day. Not that I’m able to enjoy it much at the moment though. Even with the windows covered, the temperature on the thermometer still keeps on rising. Have you ever tried to get your creative juices flowing when your cheeks are glowing and you’ve got beads of perspiration rolling down your temples? Exactly. After all, we're no different to our technical equipment: if computers and brains are required to operate at full potential for hours in the summer, they need proper cooling. The only way to get that is by drinking plenty of fluids and getting the air moving which will allow perspiration to evaporate quicker, cooling the body down. Good idea. I raise the blinds and throw the windows open...

Personal responsibility when working from home

It’s not usually us but rather our employer who is responsible for providing a good indoor climate. The company, the Facility Management department or the operators of the co-working space ensure optimum conditions at their premises: ergonomic office furniture, good equipment, a coffee machine nearby and you don’t even have to empty the bin yourself. Those conditions include a pleasant indoor climate – especially in big offices – as temperature and air quality have a massive influence on our own productivity. However, we don’t usually notice how important the room temperature is until it’s not at an optimal level, the air-conditioning stops working or the heating develops a fault – or during a hot spell at the height of the summer. That’s the kind of summer that I’m now faced with while I’m working from home. And like every year, the weather services are once again warning that there's going to be a heatwave. So what should I do?

A cool breeze at the press of a button

Not a breath of air anywhere, road noise and the afternoon sun streaming in: having the windows open is somehow not the solution either. Whether I like it or not, I need a fan which is one of those things that admittedly are useful but which I find ugly as sin and that’s why I’ve always been reluctant to get one. Too bulky, too loud and not sexy, that was what I had always thought. Fortunately, the innovative minds at Stadler Form offer some great alternatives. For not only do they think about the design of their devices, they also think about how they will fit in with the living environment of their new owners and become faithful companions over the years. Like members of the family, they are also given names – very sweet. So I got myself a new member of the family, just like that. Or, to be precise, two: Otto and Tim. And I’m amazed at how soothing a breath of fresh air at the press of a button can be.

Otto: from a breeze to a gale

Otto is the big brother. Powerful yet also finely adjustable, he certainly looks built to last. His seamless bamboo frame has organic credentials which was immediately a big tick for us. It makes this well-designed floor-standing fan clearly stand out from his brothers made of plastic or metal and he blends in perfectly with the existing interior scheme – he even tones in with our parquet floor. He’s not an attention-seeking bit of bling made of chrome steel – I like that. Sustainability is a fundamental guiding principle for us at scharfsinn: we have taken a respectful approach to people, the environment and resources for years. That’s the position we choose to take. Naturally, we apply the same sustainable criteria when choosing new members of our family.

I turn the controller: even on the lowest setting, OttoOtto produces a light, refreshing breeze. With him next to you while you work, he’s quiet enough for you to be able to concentrate or even take a call. On the two higher settings, he really gets going – and makes more noise in the process. Just like an industrial fan. My tip: wear headphones while you’re working. They’re a great way of blocking out unwanted background noise such as the noise from building sites, children shouting or even the sound of powerful fans. So working from home can have its drawbacks.

Tim: your mobile companion

You don’t always have to work sitting at a desk. And that’s one of the benefits of working from home. Copywriting in particular can be done just as well on the sofa or while relaxing on a sun lounger – in fact, it makes the work seem much easier. When the weather’s good, I like to set myself up on one of our balconies. Surrounded by native wild shrubs, with bees buzzing and the smell of herbs, I find the necessary inspiration for my work. And regardless of whether I’m at home or travelling, that also means grabbing little brother Tim who serves as my personal cooling assistant.

He’s small and mobile. Quiet and flexible. And he looks good too. His frame rotates and tilts so that you can direct the flow of air wherever you want it to go – onto your face, for example – with continuously variable adjustment. When the heat builds up over the urban concrete jungle, the slightest breath of air is welcome. Ultimately, no refreshing breeze outside should just get lost in the ether. Tim is simple to set up: you use the USB cable to connect the table fan directly to your laptop or power bank and you’re done. In terms of use, he offers almost unlimited flexibility, making Tim the ideal companion for the summer.

Bring on the summer

Yes, Otto and Tim have shown that fans can be elegant, cool and sexy too. The two boys have since become an indispensable part of our everyday working life in the summer months and we are looking forward to whatever may follow. We’ve got our holidays at home coming up soon. «We recommend that you do not make any non-essential trips abroad», says the FOPH. Not to worry. I can grab Tim and go out into the garden. Or onto the roof terrace. Or take him camping. Ha, the two of us have still got so many plans for this summer. How about you?

We warmly want to thank Janine Rebosura for her witty and enjoyable experience report of our fans Otto and Tim! If you are as excited as we are, let us know in the comments below.

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