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2. What is Remote Working? Launching Your Virtual Architecture Firm

Hello architect friends this is Jennifer Kretschmer, AIA and this is the second video of my series on launching a virtual architecture firm. What is remote working? I think everybody knows what remote working is now. These days, we've all been talking about working from home and not working in the office. Let’s talk a little bit more about what is remote working. The Cambridge dictionary states that remote working is a situation in which an employee works mainly from home and communicates with the company through email and telephone. Management methods have had to adapt to this rising popularity in remote working.

Right now, some firms are scrambling to try to figure out what are the correct procedures in having architects work from home. As I mentioned, I've been doing this for about 12 years and I do have remote workers all over the nation working for me. When I presented this session at the last AIA Conference of Architecture I asked attendees, “Does your firm support remote workers?” The great news was that in this room of almost 200 people, 58% of them said that their firm already supported remote working. They already had procedures in place for making (remote working) happen.

When we initially talk or think about remote working, we had this great dream about what that could mean for us. “If you can free your time and your location your money is automatically worth 3 to 10 times as much.” This is a great quote from Timothy Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Work Week If you haven't had a chance to read this book I really recommend giving it a try. It's not really about only working 4 hours a week; it's about making your processes and how you work more efficient and more task based rather than worrying so much about how much time you're actually spending in getting things accomplished.

Let's talk about that dream versus the reality. In our dream of working remotely, we think about working anytime and anywhere as much or as little as we want. Another dream is being able to use the entire pool of the world to find quality workers. We are familiar with the term “outsourcing” and wonder if you can have workers on your firm’s projects while you're sleeping but for them it's the middle of the day. In reality when thinking about your firm’s practices you need to look at what's most practical for you. For most, it is more practical to have a specific place in your home where you work from day-to-day. This background that you're seeing behind me is my garage that was remodeled into my studio. This is my sanctuary. My family knows that this is my workspace and they do not come and disturb me when I'm doing work unless it's really, really important. You need to have a dedicated space that you can go to and be able to do your work from day to day. The other reality is that maybe it’s not practical to use workers from all over the world. Sometimes it's still more practical to have workers closer to you. That way you can still get together and talk about projects.

I do projects with remote staff and we utilize a lot of video conferencing in order to have design meetings. Right now, with social distancing, video conferencing has become a more essential tool. To record this video, I am using Zoom.

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



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