Many Architecture and Design practices have had to move to remote working models, which has taken some adjustment for everyone. Some individuals have found it easier than others but as we embrace new ways of working, how can you personally ensure that you remain collaborative and keep your creativity flowing?
Here are just a few of the ideas that we have been embracing at FRAME Recruitment:
1. Leverage video meetings
Collaboration relies on interaction, so be sure to make full use of virtual video meetings daily. Talking to your colleagues through video will feel more like an in-person conversation, rather than a regular phone call. We all thrive on human interaction and video will enable you to see facial expressions. Emails can sometimes feel flat and can be misread, so video is a great way to bring conversations to life and communicate effectively. Especially during the design process when being able to visualise ideas and see how projects are progressing is crucial. Just make sure that you have good audio and video quality on your computer.
If your practice uses a video meeting app, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, be sure to check out the interactive features on offer, especially for specific design projects or when taking part in work social events. If your practice doesn’t use something like this, why not suggest to your team manager?
2. Prioritise breaks
Did you know it is proven that taking regular breaks and getting fresh air increases creativity and productivity? When you concentrate on something for too long, without being able to bounce ideas off of other people it is only natural you will experience a mental block. Make an effort to take a real lunch break outside and get some fresh air or call one of your colleagues for a friendly chat. You will no doubt be inspired by this and your surroundings, and it will get your creative juices flowing again. It is also more common to make mistakes without regular breaks and no one wants that.
If you have control of this, perhaps try to schedule some of your meetings or design sessions after you have taken a break or first thing in the morning. That way you will be more energised, ready to go and more likely to collaborate effectively and bring fresh ideas to the table.
3. Create an inspiring workplace environment
As well as being inspired by each other, design teams are naturally inspired by their environments. As you will know, design practices are usually very visually inspiring places to work and creative collaboration is easier to foster. Why not make use of your at-home workspace by putting up photos or vision boards of designs, projects or places that have inspired you. Or even the projects that you are currently working on.
If you miss the interaction with your colleagues and seeing the same friendly faces daily, why not use a photo of your team from a social event for your desktop background? Even this has the potential to make you feel like you are still very much part of a team.
4. Stick to a creative process
You will have had a creative process when you all worked in the studio and it is equally as important to have one when working remotely. Designing is a journey and each step of the journey requires different checkpoints, so make sure that you are checking in with everyone at each point that you usually would to talk through and show where you are at in the process or what needs to be revisited.
At FRAME Recruitment, we make full use of video meetings to talk ideas through, but we also use a feature called teams. Here you can create online teams for different projects that only the people assigned to it can see; you can assign tasks, set deadlines, and tick tasks off once they have been completed. That way everyone can see what has been done and what is outstanding. It is also a fantastic way to get clarity on everyone’s responsibilities on a project.
5. Have creative breakout sessions
To keep engagement high amongst yourself and your colleagues, why not make time for collaborative creative sessions? Even if it is for 15 minutes a week – it will keep engagement strong whilst ensuring you are aligned with everyone else in your team.
If you have an idea or you are stuck on a concept, just dial in for a video call with your manager or a colleague and talk your ideas through with them. Just because you are working from home and aren’t able to see your colleagues face to face, it does not mean you have to feel isolated or stuck on something.
Try to stick to communicating with your team and managers like you would have pre-remote working. The key thing to remember is that creative collaboration relies on communication, with the tips above you will be well on your way to ensuring that you remain collaborative and creative to the best of your abilities.
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