Evelyn Lee, AIA, at Slack Technologies on remote working.

  • Empower Your Team
    Remote work and flexible work schedules are not the same thing. Your workplace must adopt both to be successful. Employees can start early, work late, and take a midday breaks. 
  • Get Everyone the Right Hardware
  • If possible, get everyone the right hardware.  If need be, let them borrow their office computer or if you think it is best investing in new hardware that they will be able to use in the future that will make them more productive.  Maybe purchase technology so your field staff doesn’t need to go into the office.  Construction cameras and site Wi-Fi robust enough to stream walkthroughs so those onsite don’t need to run out to the jobsite.

    When you’re reviewing platforms for overall team management, keep in mind that the right mix of tools for small and large firms will likely differ. Identifying your needs will be an ongoing progress but assume that one platform will not fulfill everything. As a starting point, you may need software to support the core functions listed below based upon what employees you need and want to collaborate.  

  • o   Cloud file storage (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive)
  • o   Collaborative documentation, reporting, and presentation platforms (Microsoft Office 360, Google G Suite, Adobe Cloud)
  • o   Creative process collaboration (Morpholio, Google Jamboard, Ideo, Miro, Mural)
  • o   Project and/or client management (BuilderTrend, CoConstruct)
  • o   Team communication through messaging (Slack, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams)
  • o   Video conferencing (Zoom, GoToMeeting, UberConference, Free Conference Call)
  •  Meet Your Employee’s Needs at the Policy Level
    Your staff will have questions regarding sick leave, paid time off, and support for mental health and wellness. The last thing you want is someone coming into the office sick or making a decision that jeopardizes the rest of the workforce because they can’t afford the day off to care for themselves or their family. Be flexible with your sick and vacation policies to support the necessary quarantine period for those who do contract the virus—or exhibit any the known symptoms. Support the infirmed, the parents who find themselves without childcare, and other staff members who need help.
  • From a business perspective, make preparations for potential attrition from your employee base. I have had friends and co-workers who were contemplating a move closer to their parents for long-term caregiving, and who are now making those decisions based on the coronavirus. Many companies will not come back from this pandemic with their entire workforce intact. Ensure that your projects are covered while people regain their typical levels of productivity.

  •  Communication Is a Two-Way Street 

As nearly every other industry, architecture and design firms will have to establish and adapt to new norms and a changed culture. The unanimous support of company leaders and communication with your workforce are crucial for any transition, and especially this one. In particular, dialogue must flow in both directions: Employees must feel free to ask questions, know that they are heard, and promptly hear back from firm leadership.

The value of face-to-face communication will never go away, but videoconferencing is the next best thing for a remote workforce.

  • Accept That Mistakes Will Happen 
During times of change, mistakes are inevitable. Own up to them if they’re yours, or be empathetic to those who make them. Document important lessons to prevent other team members from committing the same mistakes.

                                                                                                                                                         © Central Jersey NARI

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software