As someone who has worked as a freelance writer for the last three years, I'm used to a pretty nomadic lifestyle. I set up my laptop wherever I am in the world and hit my emails, assignments, and anything else I have to tackle. Whenever I'm not traveling, I cuddle up on the couch or at my home office and do the same. So when the pandemic hit and everyone had to adjust to a new "work from home" environment, I didn't have to do much adjusting on my end.
However, that has posed a unique set of struggles for me. During a time when there are no options but to stay home and I can't even camp out at a coffee shop when I need a change of scenery, stir crazy doesn't even begin to describe how I've been feeling. The other side of this double-edged sword is that, though I'd love to get out and spend a day working from somewhere outside of my home, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and I have to make choices that are safe for me and everyone else around me. That's why I was so happy to find out that Proper Hospitality had partnered with Industrious to create a WFH experience called Work From Here.
"Like many hospitality businesses around the country, COVID has forced us to get creative, something we've always embraced as part of the Proper brand and lifestyle," says Patrick Pahlke, VP of Commercial at Proper Hospitality, which has hotels in California, Texas, and Oregon. "COVID has led to a more local and regional-driven client base for us, which we love to see, as it's allowing us to better connect and serve our local communities in each market."
Like many other Instagram-savvy Angelenos, I have drooled over pictures of the Santa Monica Proper Hotel more than once. The tan color palettes, the vast array of house plants littered around the hotel, the mix of textures splattered across every wall, the impossibly chic furniture... Everything about the hotel is just asking to be photographed. A luxury hotel is not a terrible place to set up shop, right?
My thoughts exactly, which is why I spent a full work day cozying up in one of Santa Monica Proper's beautiful rooms and had one of the most productive days since the start of quarantine.
The Work From Here program I partook in allows guests to book rooms at their preferred "From Here" location by day, week, or month. It offers customers the opportunity to work in a place that feels comfy enough to sleep in, but is a pleasant change of scenery from the home office that you've likely been feeling trapped in since the lockdowns started.
"Guests are loving it [so far]," says Pahlke. "They love the flexibility of being able to book by the day, week or month, and are also loving the amenities we provide, from the complimentary New York Times subscription to the in-room snacks and coffee, to the ability to order room service at any point throughout the day."
Keep in mind that the program is available at all Proper Hospitality hotels, as well as many other locations throughout the country, so you have the opportunity to book an experience even if you're not based in LA.
COVID-Safe Hotel Protocols To Consider
My first priority in going to work at the Santa Monica Proper was ensuring that the experience was safe for me and the workers at the hotel. They offer contactless check-in to ensure maximum COVID safety. The zero-contact in-suite service amenities include waters in the fridge, artisanal snacks, a coffee option, and room service for purchase.
I set up a lunch reservation at Calabra, the onsite rooftop restaurant so I could take a break from staring at my computer screen. It was actually the first time I had eaten out at a restaurant since the start of quarantine, and the only reason I felt comfortable was because of how safe I felt the restaurant was. They accommodated my request for a secluded table away from other customers, and the restaurant is also on the roof so it's outdoors and open. All of that coupled with the extra precautions — like QR code menus, face masks and shields on all servers, and extra-distanced tables — made me feel extra safe eating out.
What Are The Advantages Of Working From A Hotel?
The room was available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I arrived at 9 a.m. and stayed till check-out. During that time, I was able to write a few freelance editorial pieces, cater to my permalance social media clients, and create content for myself — all from the comfort and safety of my room and the extremely vacant lobby of the hotel.
As someone who works in a few different fields as a freelance editor, writer, and content creator, I loved the versatility that working from the Santa Monica Proper had to offer. The high-speed WIFI and luxurious workstation made for a comfortable and productive work environment for answering emails, writing pieces, and doing other work.
Whenever I had a moment, I ran downstairs to the lobby looking for cool spots to take photos and capture other content for myself. (It wasn't hard; the hotel really was made for picture taking!) Walking through the lobby is a sensory overload experience and there's an endless number of nooks and crannies to photograph, so I was able to change outfits a few times to capture everything I wanted. And as someone who always wants to shoot multiple outfits, I loved that having a room on property allowed me to store all of my extra clothes and change without having to search for a public restroom.
I also loved that the design of the hotel was so aesthetically pleasing that it made for a much more photogenic work space than my usual home office. As someone who often has to film and take pictures for work — and whose schedule isn't regular enough to plan out time when I would need to be in a more picturesque locale — I loved that I could sit down for a few minutes, answer some emails, and go shoot some photos when I had a break. The internet at the hotel was way faster than what I have at home. Plus, let's just say that the queen-sized bed in the room didn't go unused throughout my work day.
Do I Recommend Working From A Hotel?
100%, hands down, absolutely, unequivocally, yes. I can't say enough about how beautiful of an environment the Santa Monica Proper was to work at, and the service from all of the staff was unparalleled. I felt so safe, given the current global circumstances (the hotel is only operating at about 50% capacity at the moment). I'd easily book a daily or weekly stay again.
I will say, even though I wasn't staying at the hotel overnight, the daily rate is a bit pricey on a freelancer's salary so I don't think I'll be able to indulge in a Work From Here experience more than once a month. But if you're a freelancer like me, I think this is a great idea if you're able to get a small group of fellow freelancers together to pitch in and work at the hotel together. (Our lifestyle can be a lonely, isolating one; we all need company every once in awhile!)
This probably can't be a regular thing, budget permitting, but if you have the funds to make it happen, I 10/10 recommend. Especially as someone who doesn't have a regular commute even when we're not in the middle of a pandemic, it was exciting to have somewhere to go to get work done — I put makeup on and everything!