Home working – #WFH #Remoteworking – the new normal.
Along with much of the UK, our DCP team has been getting to grips with working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic and like everyone else, we’re finding there are pros and cons to the new normal.
On the plus side there’s no more stressing about train delays or traffic hold-ups. The commute to the ‘office’ is negligible. The coffee ‘round’ is smaller, oh, and the coffee is better too.
On the downside, we’re frantically juggling childcare and home schooling with deadlines and phone calls, missing the office banter, and the sociability of team working.
CPD is a good example. Those hours saved commuting mean there’s more time to take advantage of the wealth of professional development material available online – a definite plus. The downside? We’re missing out on the valuable networking opportunities that are an integral part of physical CPD events.
Endless dress-down days and access to snacks (calories consumed during lockdown don’t count, apparently) may sound like fun in theory but the reality of working from home, and why we are doing it is less so.
It’s a hugely worrying time on all fronts. People are concerned about their health, loved ones, their jobs, paying the bills, the economy – the list is long and alarming.
The Bigger Picture
In many ways, as a multi-disciplinary construction consultancy, we are fortunate. The construction sector is allowed, for the time being and with appropriate measures, to continue to work. Much of what we do can be progressed from a home office. We’re blessed with the wonders of modern technology; from a business point of view it’s never been more important.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
We’re learning (very quickly) a whole new way of working and keeping connected. Microsoft Teams and Zoom meetings (other group meeting apps are available!) enable the easy exchange of information, keeping both the team, clients and projects on track. We are using 360° virtual tours to progress the design and tendering processes on schemes, enabling us, the design team and tendering contractors to walk through the building without having to leave home.
Lockdown won’t last forever, but maybe some of the new skills and practices we’ve adopted while we’ve all been working remotely will continue.
For a start we’ve all learnt that with the right technology (and a good internet connection) it is possible to work effectively remotely. In the future perhaps more of us will chose to mix and match our hours between the office and home. At DCP, with offices in three locations, we’ve been using teleconferencing for our regular Partners’ meetings for some time now. And while face to face meetings and site visits with clients and colleagues could never be completely replaced, moving forward it’s likely that far more appointments will be virtual – it’s simply a much more efficient and cost-effective way of operating. The same is true of our experience with using 360° Virtual Tour technology. It’s a great innovation, convenient, efficient and ultimately money saving for both client and contractor.
And there is of course another advantage. Adapting our working practices and travelling less can only be good for the environment.
Image: Ralph ‘helping’ QS Tristan Moseley