PUBLISHED Apr. 20, 2020
Due to the outbreak of the virus, COVID-19, a WHO-declared ‘global pandemic’ means that all public workplaces have been closed and lockdown put in place. For those in the hospitality and manual labour industry, this has resulted in either a lack of opportunities or abrupt unemployment, which is surging. At a time like this, it may seem frustrating to fathom attempting to work successfully as an architect without being able to participate in vital hands-on tasks such as site visits, in-house collaborations and actual face-to-face meetings.
However, it is important to remember that although it may seem frustratingly inconvenient, as architects we are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely when needed. These are the ways in which architects, whether you’re the CEO or an intern, can maintain efficacy and success throughout their endeavours while at home.
The pandemic has indeed left many professionals limited in accessibility to conveniences that tend to make their vocation doable. An architect’s main tool may be their perspective, but in a time like this, ‘tools’ should be considered more literally.
You need to start by questioning even the simplest things such as whether you have enough extension cables for all your plugs. Is your internet connection fast enough to hold online video meetings while having multiple tabs and programmes open? Is your computer fast enough? Is your phone able to take high-quality pictures and be ready to answer calls at any time?
For many, the luxuries of working in a large office may have answered these questions a couple of months ago. Due to this unprecedented change of environment, architects will need to start making sacrifices and be willing to spend more on gadgets that will garner them less painless long work hours stuck indoors.
An upside to possibly having lesser access to high-tech would be that architects may be more inclined to utilize their artistic abilities and be more encouraged to spend time on hand-drawn sketches or using different mediums for their designs. As most hours would be spent on a screen, this could be an opportunity to take a break from that while still being productive.
Architects should be willing to invest in anything that will make their work experience from home as smooth as possible.
Although maybe a couple of months ago, you would have dreaded those nine to five hours in the office, it is now clear what we took for granted. As a majority of public workspaces have yet to reopen, architects are still restricted to their homes. This can be frustrating because depending on each individual’s home situation, not everyone may already have the comfort of existing office space in their own residence. This could vary from an already set up, designated room to a space on the sofa and the coffee table as your desk. No matter where your available space may be, your first priority should be to keep you home affairs separated from your work. Most importantly, do not resort to sitting in your bed with your laptop as it will only result in you feeling lethargic, unmotivated and unproductive.
Depending on whether you have been set a specific schedule or just have deadlines to meet, do not let yourself slip into procrastination. It is easy to feel relaxed and less intimated by work while at home, but this could surely end up being disadvantageous long-term.
Setting up your own schedule is a primary way to ensure that you are allocating yourself enough time to finish projects and stay on track. During lockdown, we need to be our own boss and set our own boundaries. By creating rules for yourself, there is less stress in the home environment as well as your brain environment. Be your own supervisor and work as if you had your superiors watching over you.
Don’t forget to take regular breaks and reward yourself with exercise, water and fresh air if you can.
If you run a firm or a team of people, just the thought of your tutelage not being under your full control can be nerve-wracking.
It is up to you on how you run your own business but the important thing is to try not to be too controlling as it is virtually impossible at a time like this. Set firm deadlines and let your subordinates manage their own time. Keep a highly detailed schedule of employee expectancies and the work that you have set for them.
However, ensure that you have easy contact access to all of them by firstly familiarising yourself will all of the available applications that allow you to have online group video calls, a portal that oversees everything and a contact list of their emails nearby as well as grouped together.
Although managing your team may seem like the first priority, architects’ clients have also been affected by the lockdown period. Likewise, they will not be able to do regular site visits or come into the office to have discussions and negotiations about an ongoing project.
Keeping tabs on clients and their current status on the project is imperative in ascertaining that they remain confident and committed to it. This is the same for manufacturers, developers, and construction managers.