Updated: Dec 4, 2020
I am going to share with you, over the next three days, the technology that's going to be necessary in order to run your virtual practice. Let's jump in on the technology that you need.
There's so many options today that are going to make working remotely, working from home, or running a virtual practice possible. To start out, you need hardware. Hardware work requirements are a laptop or even a desktop computer. I do all of my work from a laptop computer. I bought a pretty high end one with a good graphics card. When I'm at my regular day-to-day desk, I plug it into a much larger monitor. I can also use both monitors at the same time. The laptop is also great for travel. There are some days when you're going to want to work away from your regular office and being able to take everything without having to transfer files from one computer to another is very convenient.
I also use a tablet from time to time. I use a tablet primarily for two things: redlining projects (marking them up) and also for having clients sign contracts on the site.
Next, a smart phone. I don't go anywhere without my smart phone and I utilize the email and texting quite often. So definitely need a smart phone.
Let's talk about software requirements: The first software requirement that's very important is your architectural/graphics software. This is your BIM or CAD, Photo Shop, anything you need to create your graphics for your projects.
You're going to need office and financial software so you can keep track of your accounting, write letters and maintain your office standards.
File sharing: It’s file sharing and storage you’ll use to share files with one another within your firm or your clients. Are you going to have a server? Are you going to have a cloud based platform? Then where do you backup files? I have three different methods for backing up my files. I keep almost everything on my laptop, but I can always backup on a server hard drive, that's inside my main house, not here in the office. I also have cloud storage as well. That way, if I ever lose my laptop, I have a couple other places to access the files.
Then there's task management software. This is how you're going to communicate to your remote workers what they need to get done. I actually use an online service called Podio. It's a Citrix branded product because I use other Citrix products. Podio allows me to create a job board and to send out tasks to everyone. When they complete [the tasks] they can literally check them off on the computer and then I get a notification that that task is done. So task management software is valuable.
I saved the best for last, communication. Communication tools are what will keep you connected to one another since you're not in the office anymore. There are all kinds of communication software and like I'm going to be going over each one of these a little more detailed in the next couple of days so that you can see the different software available out there and test them on your own.
That's the main thing is to get a chance to test [software] out before you implement them firmwide. Thank you again for listening to my little video today. If you have any questions please email me, or message on social media and I will try to answer whatever questions you have about running a virtual office with remote workers.
Key terms: work from home, WFH, remote working, virtual office, virtual firm, architecture firm, architect office, architect practice, architectural practice.