The kids are clamoring for attention, the laundry needs doing, and what’s for dinner again?
Many US workers have had no choice but to adapt to working from home in recent months since offices shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
And for many, the lack of structure and boundaries is taking a terrible, emotional toll. A new option awaits if you want to shake up your WFH routine: Work from a hotel.
Leisure travel to downtown Los Angeles has sagged during the coronavirus pandemic, but guest rooms at the 94-year-old Hotel Figueroa are hot commodities as always.
These days, however, most guests are locals taking day trips from home so they can work.
According to Managing Director Connie Wang, the set-up launched in June and is a great opportunity for work-at-home warriors to get out of their houses and spend workdays in clean, quiet and socially distanced spaces that come with high-speed WiFi, unlimited printing privileges and free parking.
The Hotel Figuero in downtown Los Angeles is renting rooms by the day.
Courtesy Hotel Figueroa
“They want a calming and relaxing atmosphere, away from the distractions of working at home,” Wang said, noting that the 350-square-foot rooms sell for $129 per day, with an option to extend to an overnight stay for an additional $20. “For some people, this has become a real treat.”
Room and board
The Wythe, a boutique hotel in Brooklyn, has partnered with co-working office space company Industrious to repurose 13 second-story guest rooms to serve as offices.
Each of the rooms has a small outdoor terrace, and dogs are welcome. Pricing starts at $200 and goes up to $275, depending on how many people use the space.
The price tag: $109 per day, only about $25 less than the overnight rate.
Allen noted that guests who sign up for these boardrooms have 24-hour access to their space and can order off a special room service menu with lower prices to accommodate frequent buyers.
“People are still trying to get their heads around the fact that businesses won’t be able to go back to traditional office spaces for a while,” she said. “By doing this we’re serving a need in the community and, at the same time, bringing people in the doors so we can expose them to other amenities and perhaps get them to spend money with us in other ways.”
Salvation for cramped New Yorkers
Here, hotel management has set aside about 20 percent of its 607 rooms to be utilized as office space. The 350-square-foot rooms are available for $1,000 per week, and they come standard with full-time technical support from PSAV, a global event production company.
General Manager Gul (pronounced “Gool”) Turkmenoglu said guests get access to the room for 24 hours and noted that guests can opt to have the beds removed for additional space.
She added that some of the rooms were renovated earlier this year.
“When we renovated the rooms, we felt overnight guests would be benefiting,” Turkmenoglu said. “Now it seems day-use guests are benefiting, too.”
What’s old is new again
Moati said the current situation will force hotels to reinvent themselves to stay alive, and he predicted that offering rooms for day-use only is one of the directions they will go.
“When you think about it, a hotel is a big box full of space,” he said. “We hope this trend is a way for hotels to monetize the fact that [space] is something everybody seems to want right now, and they’re looking for spaces they know are safe.”
Of course, this is what drove Danielle Levanas to participate in Hotel Figueroa’s Work Perks program last month.
Levanas, a drama therapist and trauma-informed life coach in Los Angeles, said she had been trying to run her businesses out of her 2-bedroom apartment since the pandemic began, but was frustrated by an inability to create work/life balance and obtain some space from her vocal 2-year-old.
While she loves the quietude of a room at the Fig, she also appreciates having a space all her own.
“The biggest issue I’ve been having is that I don’t feel safe going back to my office space because the building shares a bathroom, and there isn’t a procedure for keeping public spaces pandemic-level clean,” she said. “The fact that I was able to work from the hotel room with a private bathroom was key.”
She added: “The unpredictable nature of this pandemic has caused unforeseen stress for everyone. Having a space to go to metaphorically ‘put my therapist hat on’ is really important.”