These are times of crisis in which due to this pandemic we need stay at home. The problem is that not everyone is able to work from home. Of course there are those who need to go to work to a super market, to a workshop, petrol station, public facilities, and of course, let’s not forget the hospital personnel, the heroes of these times.
For the big majority who usually work from an office, now is required to learn how to keep the work up from home. But I personally believe that to be able to work remotely is rather a great advantage. Nowadays of course it is a responsibility.
From enzyme I must say that we have been blessed by the fact that we always wanted to keep the work up from any remote location from which our team was located. Sometimes for a small office or startup is the difference that make you able to survive. After almost 5 years of existence we always had to work even on the move. From Planes, airports, public buses, taxis, ferries, public spaces in different different countries…
But Not only emails and presentations. Some of our most remarkable projects have been developed using large BIM models that had to be done in any random location where we were required to be.
We had to learn it the hard way at the beginning. Then after a while we started to have members of our team working from Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, US, European Countries and Mexico. Once you master this technic it becomes a habit.
We could say that at some point you “just get the work done” where ever you are. Basically Internet gave us wings. But a lot of people have access to internet, right? Then why this hustle? Humanity managed to send people to the moon when there was not Google Maps or even SMS. Have we learned anything 50 years later?
We hear from many of our peers that they loose a lot of time on Skype calls, Zoom, GoTo Meetings, Large amount of emails, We-transfers, etc.. Some of our Architects and Engineers friends complain that they loose so much time coordinating with teams, evaluating others employees work, align with Office standards, deliverables, making decisions, etc..
First rule for working remotely, but also for any work in general: MEETINGS MUST BE SHORT. Do the minimum amount possible, and transform them in Micro Conversation to decide and execute.
I want also to say that we are blessed to have such a wonderful team of young energised people that wants to do the best work possible using the best tools and having fun at the same time.
During the last 3 months we have done some of our largest submissions, biggest packages of documentation both for Construction and Design competitions we ever did since we exists. And believe me, the level of quality and efficiency in our workflow did not decrease due to the last period. Also I would like to remember that being based in Hong Kong and south east asia mainly, the crisis started already almost 2 months ago. Some of the members of our team have been working from home for many weeks. But as I said, is just more of us working remotely. We have been doing this for a while.
What have we learned? What can we advice? After this crisis we might need to change the way we work! We ALL need to use technology to improve our efficiency and capabilities. We can do it!
Apart from my advice of Minimizing “Meetings”, let me share a list of tools we owe so much. Without them, there would be no Enzyme:
Having our BIM Server in an Online remote server to which we all can connect no matter where we are is PRICELESS. With internet connection, the way Teamwork allow us to manage Huge projects is amazing. To all Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Consultants, Designers in general related to construction: use BIMcloud. I keep hearing peers that complain how “BIM servers don’t work properly”, even when the team is working in the same office… Please, choose the right tool.
In order to work with this platform the team needs to have a Key physical license with them or a Network License. Both work. The Network license is the type of license that we are starting to use more since is very easy to share in between users all over the globe. When someone is not using it, is possible to release it back to the license pool. The person who wakes up in another timezone can use access to it then, as easy as that.
- Slack. Such as Teams and other applications of the same kind.
This platform is like a huge Facebook-WhatsApp group where you can separate projects, topics , channels and private messages keeping track of the Files that we share. The moment we were a team larger than 3 people, we could not get enough of it. Can be used from the Desktop, laptop, Tablet or Smartphone, everyone is Always Coordinated.
The point here is to keep the conversation alive. As if the team is talking to each other in the same room. With a difference, you need to type so you keep the dialogs short and effective.
- Skype. As well as Zoom, GoTo Meeting or any similar application.
Being able to discuss and share the screen is an advantage that we all know, is not a new thing. Is very useful but please don’t get too comfortable with it. Some people like to talk. These meetings are also tools to achieve decisions and goals. The talk is not the goal. Do it when is strictly necessary.
As BOX, Google drive, etc… basically I cannot understand companies that don’t store their data in the cloud.
- WhatsApp / WeChat or similar.
These apps are also tricky is easy to deviate the conversation from the topic. Also some people find themselves too comfortable keep sending questions and avoid making decisions. Also as Voice Messages. Try to avoid them since these messages require from everyone else to stop and listen to focus. Also some people like to send long voices messages. My team knows it by now. If is more the 15 seconds, most likely I will Not listen to them and will be their responsibility to communicate properly the task or idea without making anyone lose time.
- Procreate, Sketches, Adobe Sketch etc.. Tablet Applications for sketching.
Is amazing the way a proper sketch can communicate better than a Render. Also in order to do markups, is just Amazing! And I must say that we enjoy sketching so much…
- Twinmotion. Or any similar Realtime rendering such as Lumion, Enscape, etc…
We recently have won a competition in which we dedicated 2 days. Apart from many sketches, we put together an ARCHICAD model (of course in BIMcloud) and our brilliant guy un Vietnam made awesome Renders very fast in Twinmotion.
- Google Docs, iCloud and all these kind of collaborative files.
From Text files to Spread Sheets and Presentations. Similar concept as BIMcloud. Is much easier to fix, coordinate and to amend files and documenta that at the end are going to become a Deliverable. Again these tools allow us to execute and deliver. Some times these tools together with BIMcloud can minimise the use of most of the previous ones
With this article we want to remark that this crisis of the Virus has highlighted a lack of capabilities that many organisations have: Flexibility. But we all can make this remote working in many cases. As we said before some jobs cannot be done remotely, but for those who can, keep the work up!
We encourage everyone to keep the measures they consider to stay safe and not spread the virus. Maybe the only good outcome after this crisis would be to learn how to improve our workflows, and to give our planet a break. Seems that working from home is more Sustainable. After all work can keep happening and often we don’t need to commute or take a plane in order to make things happen.
Thank you for reading us!