Architecture Practice Working At The Time of COVID-19
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has been unprecedented situation that brought many changes to our daily lives very quickly. Although there has been some suspicion of what restrictions could be introduced, the lockdown, social distancing and other measures, were not announced much in advance, so businesses were not given much time to set up a new system of working.
At VORBILD Architecture, we managed to arrange ourselves to work remotely for a long while now. Actually, it has been 3 years, and it started when we began working on projects in the south of France, and beyond. I had to travel abroad fairly regularly and as a result was never really in the office much. This encouraged us to set up the practice to cater for as much flexibility and connectivity that would not be location or time bound.
For the team, as well as Clients, we set up a system to collaborate and discuss and manage projects via online tools. When COVID-19 arrived, things did not change much on that side. We have tested a few programmes and platforms and so far our favourites are:
- Microsoft Teams – for remote Client presentations
- Podio – for communication with the team about projects
- Xero – for bookkeeping
- Dropbox – for file sharing
- WhatsApp – for communication with Clients and suppliers (apart from making regular phone calls and writing emails)
Changes to a Working Day
In normal circumstances, the biggest chunk of my working day is spent on site visits and meetings. With the travel restriction in place, the ratio of being at my desk to being out and about has changed drastically. Most of my work is now conducted from behind my desk with an increased number of phone calls and remote presentations, sometimes taking 3 hours each.
I have been able to maintain visits to sites, as construction activities have been deemed as vital and have not been ordered to shut down. These have been impacted in its own way with social distancing in place, some people needing to isolate and disturbance in deliveries of materials and from suppliers.
Outlook on the (Near) Future
We want to stay positive about this situation. While it is truly unexpected and horrific, I would like to see it as an opportunity for a greater awareness, prioritising and focus. It may be a opportunity to plan as a lot can be achieved during this seemingly quiet period. Once it is over, you can then be ready move forward with the next step.
Let’s take each day as it comes and I hope you and your family stay well!