The world crisis caused by the Coronavirus has called millions of people to quarantine and socially distance in order to stop the contagion curve. This has resulted in companies being confronted with the challenge of continuing to work remotely, with most of their teams working from home.
“Home office" is a practice that has become quite common during the last years. The proliferation of smartphones that are as powerful as computers, along with ultra-fast internet connections and technologies that allow cloud storage and SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, has allowed remote work to increase by almost 400% since 2010.
Is it possible to replicate this way of working in the architecture industry? We asked our readers, and more than half of them claimed to have worked frequently from home, before the social distancing measures were adopted following the spread of Covid-19.
Among the main challenges that architects report facing when working from their homes are the reduced communication with the rest of the team and the impossibility of visiting the site or meeting with suppliers and customers.
Architects pointed out the importance of work systems such as BIM (Building Information Modeling), which allows for a collaborative way to work on design proposals and decision-making. To stay connected with their teams and clients, meetings are taking place via Zoom and online catalogues are being used to find architectural products and materials. At ArchDaily, we’ve seen a 25% growth in traffic within our Product Catalog. This indicates that architects are embracing online platforms to work on their projects more than ever before.
Construction sites have also been affected, with some sites having been closed due to fear of the spread of the virus.Those that continue to work have been concerned with strictly following the instructions of the World Health Organization to avoid contagion. In order to reduce the number of individuals on-site, they have incorporated digital tools that allow virtual tours and GoPro cameras to broadcast images to the rest of the team.
Will remote working in the field of architecture continue to rise once we have recovered from this pandemic? Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics predicts that a large amount of people in the US will become remote workers after Covid-19:
“We believe, based on historical trends, that those who were working remotely before the pandemic, will increase their frequency after they are allowed to return to their offices. For those who were new to remote work until the pandemic, we believe there will be a significant upswing in their adoption. My best estimate is that we will see 25-30% of the workforce working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis within the next two years”.
In this context, the entire construction industry (developers, construction companies, material manufacturers and distributors) must quickly adopt technologies such as BIM, 3D printing, drones and sensors on site. Although the industry has been adopting an increasingly digital approach in recent years, it has been a slow adopter, in comparison to other sectors. Without a doubt, the critical scenario we are experiencing today will accelerate the digitization processes and will be a litmus test for those who have not yet embraced digital transformation.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily's coverage related to COVID-19, read our tips and articles on Productivity When Working from Home and learn about technical recommendations for Healthy Design in your future projects. Also, remember to review the latest advice and information on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO) website.