Covid-19 forced everyone to adopt the new normal by working from home and being connected virtually. Despite the architectural profession‘s mandate to have in-person collaboration to produce the work output, it remained largely adaptable and resilient. In the beginning, it came out as a hindrance in work, though a halt in construction all over the world made us settle down in the scenario and accept the way it is for the time being. Mainly in India, offices were open way before the opening of the lockdown due to lack of technology or the acceptance of the technology but now everyone is living in the age of digital transformation.

Can we trust virtual working for architects? - Sheet1
Design meeting_©Apex Architecture

Apart from giving us the restrictions, the pandemic gave us the moment to halt and embrace the world of technologies and put our time, space, and energy into work which resulted in a rise in productivity. This rapid lifestyle change came with a lot of challenges, obviously. Accepting the workload our community goes through, we need a social and interactive environment to acknowledge our engagement in work. Working virtually assists everyone in having a work-life balance by trying to catch up with everyone socially.

Can we trust virtual working for architects? - Sheet2
Video conference_©MAD Architects

Let’s be honest about it; not every employer is happy with the thought of virtual working for their employees. There are myths related to this statement, i.e., one might not work properly and will be engaged in other errands (in offices, there is no micromanagement like if you are assigned to something and you are present in the office, it’s understood that the work is going on, but at home, work update is required at every step to see are you continue working or not). Companies need more PCs; it’s challenging to co-ordinate CAD drawings from home – assuming that you even have CAD at home as the licenses are so costly; you should have the option to print things and sketch ideas out cooperatively; assuming that work PCs are available, you will not have the option to utilize Revit really with only one screen; and site visits are clearly impractical from the couch. Other than the work update, you need to share the work as it’s majorly the teamwork. Clouds and other servers have made our life a bit easier with this, which does not hold the time to affect the performance.

Can we trust virtual working for architects? - Sheet3
Minimalist modern background_©Design Milk

There are so many ways to communicate and data sharing via teleworking. Having a platform for design information (estimations, bill of quantities, parametric parts, and so on) permits different design teams and specialists to see which data is generally relevant to their work progress. It is critical to increase productivity and visibility while working from a distance. Besides configuration, cloud sharing innovation likewise permits architects to share their work with any clients associated with the project. Firms frequently head out significant distances to pitch their design ideas to current or expected clients. This can bring about significant costs that require numerous labourers to have flights, food, and living paid for.

Working virtually from home is possible for architects; I myself have done it loads! It’s not completely perfect but it needs a lot of work organization to do it. Despite all the time and infrastructure savings, working from home requires staying in contact regularly, managing projects and resources, etc. Discipline is significant when working from home. While it is fundamental to keep up with efficiency levels during your core work hours, it is similarly vital to detach from work when required. Full-time workspaces aren’t the best thing in the world for everybody. They’re excessively keeping for firms with in excess of a modest bunch of staff, and numerous designers think that they are disconnecting. After this massive turn in an architect’s life few interviews were taken.

Team_©MAD Architects

MAD Architects: There are around 100 people on staff at the Beijing office. At the start of lockdown, everybody went home in different time zones, which was quite challenging with so many projects on board. Firstly, everyone in their staff was checked that they have computers and the internet wherever they are staying. The office files and server were connected to software that everyone can access and zoom became a new meeting platform. It started making sense and was working actually. In mid-February, a “back-to-work cloud happy hour” held at zoom, paid tribute to the medical teams. This happy hour got spotted by the Wall Street Journal.

Initially, everyone was in the adjustment mode which later came out well. Virtual working can be done when one is well equipped with a computer, internet, and access to the office files. Communications that used to be done at the office are now workable with e-meetings. Since the era of physical sheets and hand-drawn drawings, we shifted to computer-based models, which made it easy to share screens on e-meetings and discuss work. It can be done virtually, but when everybody has an option to work from the office, nobody is allowed to do it at home.

References:

  1. Architectmagazine.com. (2022). [online] Available at: https://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/has-remote-work-changed-the-architecture-profession-for-good_o [Accessed 5 Jun. 2022].
  2. kstanton (2021). The Future of Remote Working in Architecture: A Virtual Discussion | News Releases. [online] HMC Architects. Available at: https://hmcarchitects.com/news/the-future-of-remote-working-in-architecture-a-virtual-discussion/ [Accessed 5 Jun. 2022].
  3. ArchDaily. (2020). Tips for Architects Working At Home During COVID-19. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/936082/tips-for-architects-working-at-home-during-covid-19.
  4. Bickersteth, R. (2020). Why architects can’t work from home. [online] The Architects’ Journal. Available at: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/opinion/why-architects-cant-work-from-home.
  5. Architectmagazine.com. (2022). [online] Available at: https://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/more-architects-are-working-from-home-to-save-money_o [Accessed 5 Jun. 2022].
Author

Riya is an architectural designer, planner and thinker, currently working in New Delhi. She believes having a delightful livable environment irrespective of the area is what everybody must-have, since part of human psychology effects by what we see and what we feel by our senses.

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