In our “Where we work” series, we ask Kin team members to share their home office and experience with remote work.
I’m Melissa Benzo, Managing Director of KinHR. I live and work remotely from South Carolina, just over the border from Charlotte, NC.
I love my office space because it’s so very “me.” I’ve worked from home for 10 or so years, and I’ve learned that I work best surrounded by things that make me feel creative and happy. I have a large desk (that’s actually a kitchen table, pro tip), several bookshelves that hold my current book collection, treasures, and music. I have natural light all throughout the day. My office windows look out to the front of my house so I can see what’s happening out there, and intercept anyone who comes to the door before my canine coworker finds out.
I very rarely work elsewhere in my house because I do my best work in my office. It gets pretty hot here in the summer so once the fall hits you might find me working outside more often.
What can’t you work without in your office space?
I must have a notebook to keep my todo list and thoughts. It’s low-tech, but I prefer it to digital note taking. I’m also pretty hooked on having a double monitor. I’m the type who has no less that 1 million browser tabs open at a time, and it’s also very helpful when I’m researching customer accounts and running chat support. I always have water or coffee on hand.
Do you have tech that you think helps you do your job better?
As a mentioned above, my extra monitor is #1! I do rely on a lot of SaaS apps to do my job effectively, the top two being Intercom for interfacing with customers via chat, and Zoom for calls with customers or potential customers. I especially love that more people have gotten comfortable with video calls through the pandemic. As a work from home veteran it’s something I am very used to but others might not have been. Now though, almost 100% of my calls are video calls.
Do you have a favorite item or trinket?
My office is full of trinkets and photos that remind me of the people and places I love. I have photos and art, a small Harry Potter collection, shells and sand from a beach where my grandma lives, and a book collection of trusty favorites and recent reads. Yoda sits on my computer monitor, along with some pretty rocks from the aforementioned beach.
Any work from home tips to share?
My favorite tip is to ensure there’s a separation between work and life, which is hard to do! If you don’t have a separate room for an office, at least have a dedicated space to leave your work equipment at the end of the day, out of sight. Also, remember to take breaks! I’m definitely guilty of feeling like I have to be working 100% of my day but it’s easy to get burnt out by 3pm. Take breaks, and take a lunch break (preferably without checking Slack on your phone the whole time).
It’s also a nice change of pace to hang out with a coworker once in a while on a video call with no agenda other than to chat. That happens organically in an office all the time! I highly recommend doing that once in a while— It’s a refreshing “brain break.”
What do you like best about where you live? Did you choose to go there because you could work from home?
My husband and I have tried many areas on for size over the past few years. We definitely chose the Charlotte area because we could work from home and it made moving so much easier. We moved to a rural suburb just a little while ago because we both work from home and wanted a little more space. I like that we can stretch out a bit, but still get to the heart of Charlotte in 45 mins. This area is rapidly growing and bustling, and it’s exiting to be a part of it!