17 April 2020

Tips for architects working from home during a pandemic

Tips for architects working from home during a pandemic

The worldwide outbreak of a pandemic has forced very many people to work from home. Of course, there are also architects and designers among them, for whom this is the maximum unexplored territory. But just like for other professions, in the case of architects and interior designers, it is true that the so-called. A home office can not only increase their performance but can also contribute to improving the skills, education, and professional development of individuals. So if you are one of the architects or interior designers, definitely read the following tips on how to make an effective home office.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

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Despite the practice of your profession, do not forget to follow all the recommendations that have been issued either by the Government of the Slovak Republic or the Chief Hygienist. Also, to increase your performance, avoid tracking the latest news as you work. Staying in the picture is extremely important.

On the other hand, constant monitoring of the latest news and social networks will not only disturb you as much as possible but also disrupt your mental well-being. Of course, don't forget to maintain a constant daily routine, which is beneficial both for maintaining productivity and for maintaining your mental health and happiness.

USE THE LATEST SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGIES

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For the backup of your work, it is more than beneficial to move all created projects to the so-called cloud. Many design systems (such as Autodesk BIM 360 or Graphisoft BIMcloud) now offer such a service, so don't hesitate and use it.

Platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive will also give you a helping hand, as they allow you to use the free storage and sharing of information on the Internet securely.

However, when sharing information, also focus on programs like Microsoft Office 365 or Google G-Suite, which allow you to work together despite physical separation from coworkers.

Many applications and programs today also attempt to faithfully emulate sketchbooks, which are an essential part of all design and architect studies. The leading program in this area is Morpholio, which, thanks to its Trace and Board applications, allows you to make sketches, proposals, and presentations of proposals in several accounts. Due to the current crisis, the program offers its completely free trial period of one month, and therefore it is worth trying.

STAY IN CONTACT

You can use Google Meet to have virtual meetings, which only requires an active Google account to work. However, if you want a more sophisticated program and advanced options, you can also turn to Zoom. Keep in mind that making video calls is essential to keep at least a fleeting touch with your co-workers and important to avoid any misunderstandings within the team.

DO NOT OVERCOME THE NUMBER OF PROGRAMS AND APPLICATIONS USED

Communicate and share your folders (or projects) with a few programs and applications as possible. Under normal circumstances, you would exchange information through an interview, e-mails, or a simple exchange of paper pads. That's why even in a virtual environment, keep communication channels to a minimum and focus, for example, on using only one text platform (such as Slack), one video platform, and one file sharing platform. This minimalist way of working not only eliminates the confusion and chaos in communicating with other members of your team but also supports your productivity.

LEARN TO SEPARATE WORK FROM ORDINARY LIFE

Set aside a special space in your household designed specifically for the performance of your work duties. To increase your productivity, consider buying a large screen, such as a television. However, if your budget allows, buy two monitors to make your profession a little smoother. If it looks like your home office will take longer, invest in a good keyboard and multifunction mouse. Of course, also think of an ergonomic and comfortable office chair.

However, also make sure that all the screens and monitors you have at home are at eye level. If it is not possible to place them at such a height, support the devices with a sufficient number of books. But most importantly - don't forget to set up your workspace in a well-ventilated room with natural light.

REVIEW YOUR WORKING TIME

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Working from home means the absence of endless attendance at work and any length of time for lunch. By reviewing your work commitment and performance well enough, you can easily find that you can do your work in five hours, instead of the classic eight. So don't hesitate to use the newly acquired time as a great opportunity to learn a new language, gain knowledge about working with new software, or to study a topic that will contribute to your better performance.

COMBAT WITH DISTRIBUTION AND FAST CONCENTRATION LOSS

Consider using the so-called Pomodoro technique, which is based on the division of your working time into 25-minute intensive work blocks, between which there will be short five-minute breaks.

If you are often distracted by telephone, Internet, or social networks, try setting your flight devices to flight or power-saving mode and putting them out of your reach and supervision.

STAY ACTIVE

As the current situation does not allow you to enter the fitness center and, in essence, not to leave home, download one of the many available fitness applications and work out with them in the comfort of your living room. However, if possible, definitely go for a walk around, run and get in touch with nature.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO REST

Discipline is extremely important when working from home. But just as it is important to know how to stay productive during your "home office hours", it is also important to know how to leave work. So don't forget to read, watch series, movies, or listen to music.

ONLINE EDUCATION

With much more control over your daily routine, it's time to integrate new software into your work portfolio. Learn in your free time with new programs that will increase your performance and beautify your resume a little more.

VISIT THE MUSEUM

Even though many (if not all) global museums have closed due to the latest pandemic, it is still possible to view their exhibitions in at least a virtual way. The Google Arts and Culture platform offers virtual tours of dozens of international museums, while the Guggenheim, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Rijksmuseum platforms offer similar services as well.

BECOME A PARTICIPANT IN ONLINE CURSES

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Many online platforms today offer a huge number of online courses, several of which are in any way connected with architecture and design, but also, for example, with construction or knowledge of various materials.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEWS WITH THE WORLD´S BEST ARCHITECTS

Despite the fact that the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is currently closed due to a pandemic, its stunning collection of interviews with leading architects is still available. Therefore, do not hesitate and expand your horizons in this way. A great addition to the usual conversations are also the so-called TED talks, which represent stand-up performances by professionals and leading personalities even from this field.

HOW DOES THE ARCHITECT COMMUNITY RESPOND TO THE CURRENT SITUATION?

According to several architectural and design studies, the technological side of changing the working mode was surprisingly simple. In addition, communication between project groups was only minimally disrupted. In the case of large companies, the only problem was the different time zones in which the team members were located. However, almost every architectural firm found that its employees lacked personal contact. Indeed, over time, really strong bonds and ties have developed between workers, which makes it difficult for them to experience physical separation. Nevertheless, they try to raise the team spirit by staying in a good mood, constantly encouraging and informing about their own progress on various projects.

Employees even often find that in addition to work benefits, the home office also brings many other benefits. Thanks to the fact that it is no longer necessary to go to work, architects and designers save a lot of time, which they can then devote to their family.

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