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My Personal Approach To COVID-19: Examining Our Needs

Sheltering in place has definitely been challenging. Families have taken time to reevaluate their homes finding the place that they love has turned to “I hate that.” Children, teens and college students back at home are making houses feel smaller and really cramped. It’s possible to turn that hatred back into love, providing the perfect solution unique to each family's specific needs.

We need electricity - let’s make our own.

Multiple day power outages are no fun, especially with the children at home (no wifi, no Netflix). The electricity company can claim it’s a fault in the line due to wind, but for humans already struggling to connect, it’s more than that. Being disconnected is disruptive to everyone and being cut-off during a client meeting looks unprofessional. Has sheltering in place given people the time to think about Zero Net Energy? Are homeowners ready to put in solar panels (AKA photovoltaics)? Will the next home they purchase generate its own electricity? The good news is: COVID-19 has given people time to examine their needs.

We need to protect ourselves and each other - my secret tips for site visits.

All great designs begin with a visit to the site, but due to the pandemic it’s necessary to take extra precautions to protect your clients and yourself. I always ask my clients to make sure all doors are open and all lights are on, including the lights in the closets. This way I’m not touching any door knobs or switches. I request that my clients be at home, but outside their house so we are socially distant.

I come fully dressed with my mask, gloves, eye covering and booties for my shoes equipped with sanitizing wipes to clean anything I might touch along the way. After my visit, I remove the gloves, wiping everything, especially my cell phone. Anything I don’t need immediately gets bagged and put in quarantine for 72 hours. As soon as possible, I wash with soap and water, before I remove my mask. I am ready to continue the day knowing that I’ve protected my clients, myself and anyone else I might come in contact with. We need to be responsible for everyone’s health. As an architect, I make my client’s health and happiness a priority in every phase of design.

We need to care for one another - even though we’re physically apart.

Working remotely is the DNA of our firm — using Zoom for over two years with a staff that is coast to coast, Maine to California. We believe in being green; we had online systems already in place making only minor adjustments, considering ease of use for our clients. We share documents online allowing for comments and feedback. Our focus is the client’s comfort, helping them feel connected despite the distance. Everything continues as though face-to-face, the clients watch us sketch and draw in an interactive environment.

As an added bonus, our remote staff now attends more meetings with the clients. It adds a personal touch when the clients can talk with the staff architect directly making our process smoother and giving the clients an additional sense of security.

We are learning from each other, staying integrated, checking in to see that everything is okay with everyone both personally and professionally. Now is the time to dial up our human factor. My line is always open to anyone who has a need.

Whether it’s space at home, electricity, health or feeling distant, it’s time to examine your needs and find solutions. Let’s welcome this opportunity into your home and life. To find out how J.Kretschmer, Architecture and Art can help with this, call 408-221-0771.



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