11. Resources. Launching Your Virtual Architecture Practice

Updated: Apr 18



Hello remote working colleagues this is Jennifer Kretschmer, AIA. Today I'm going to share with you some resources that are available to you if you would like to do some more research on virtual practice and remote working.

The first resource I have is a video from YouTube called “Firm Owners and Managers Stop Managing Your Remote Workers as if They're on Site!” https://youtu.be/gDFdHnkohLg

It's a short 2-minute video, but the main point of this video is to tell managers a little bit more about how to manage their remote workers and how to keep them on track.

This is a new resource from AIA national at the AIA website: https://www.aia.org/resources/6279715-remote-work- It has some of the resource I'm already including here as well as a lot of other resources they just recently put this on their website to discuss remote work, social distancing and how remote work can be accomplished in a firm. It's actually pretty long page and there's a lot of resources on it.

So a lot of my initial research, when I decided I wanted to speak on this subject and I didn't want to speak just specifically about my situation, i did came from this particular white paper that was done by the AIA trust. It's available online it's a pretty lengthy document and it goes into things like independent contractors versus employees, insurance, a few more practical items on running a practice of any size as a virtual practice. https://www.theaiatrust.com/white-paper-guide-virtual-practice/

Last year at the AIA convention or conference on architecture, I participated in this session that I'm sharing with you [as a speaker]. There was also another session on virtual practice models and that was called “Virtual Architectural Practice: Alternate Realities for the Emerging Gig Economy: https://aiau.aia.org/courses/virtual-architecture-practice-alternate-realities-emerging-gig-economy It was a panel discussion that had several industry professionals as well as an insurance broker and a lawyer. One of the architect speakers, Peter Macrae, had a great presentation about his firm model. He does projects internationally and all of his workers are all over the nation. He doesn't just do I do a lot of residential projects or small commercial projects. He does pretty large-scale projects and he's been able to keep this going as a virtual office doing large scale projects for 10 years. He's a great resource. http://www.macraearchitecture.com/

Two books I really love: The Four-Hour Work Week was probably the first book I ever read on trying to create systems and models that help [a business to] be a lot more efficient. I guess the philosophy of this book is to be able to earn income while you're sleeping, basically. He talked a lot about outsourcing and creating systems. It's a great book that’s not about working 4 hours a week. It's about working far more efficiently. And then there's Remote: Office Not Required This is a book that's quite practical about the processes of remote working and goes into detail about remote work and who's best suited for remote work.

In conclusion, in order to start moving toward virtual office today I want you to identify where you would work on an average day and where would you work on a mobile day. To have clear office standards and methods to communicate those office standards to your remote worker. You got to have this stuff written down. Try different things some things will work some things won't. You'll finally land on something that works well for the entire office and maintains your company culture. Try a pilot program if you can. Now we're probably all doing [remote working] so there's no need for a pilot program. Just jump right in and start meeting clients in locations outside your firm office and with video conferencing. Practice having video conferencing with your staff before engaging clients in video conferences. Nobody wants to be stumbling over new software in front of the client.

Here are some additional resources:

https://entrearchitect.com/

https://archinect.com/

https://practiceofarchitecture.com/

https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/free-software-and-tools-to-support-working-remotely_o






Key terms: work from home, WFH, remote working, virtual office, virtual firm, architecture firm, architect office, architect practice, architectural practice.

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