The world is expecting a major economic crisis- the worst ever since the Great Depression – to follow the global health crisis. Architects and designers are not immune to this as our work is closely linked to the “real world”.
Several weeks of lockdown has caused many construction projects to slow down or stop altogether, putting the future of small or mid-sized firms in trouble. Unfortunately, there have also been many layoffs in the effort to stay alive.
The sites where work continues to happen are under strict vigilance to check the spread of Coronavirus disease. Clients are, therefore, reluctant to sign contracts and award more work. Projects in the hospitality sector would take a major hit. Even the future of concert halls, sports complexes, museums and malls is uncertain in today’s time.
CHALLENGES TO WORKING FROM HOME
Working from home has its own challenges. Lack of a proper working zone and distractions are a major cause of low productivity at home. One needs to be extremely disciplined about their work life balance. A lot of people have found themselves working more than usual hours since the quarantine began.
Work-from-home is highly dependent on the stability of the internet services which can prove to be unreliable sometimes. Design being a collaborative process, the inability to co-ordinate with colleagues in person is also slowing down if not hampering the design process.
Home Office for Architects works only to a certain extent. Site Visits and On-site meetings with the Clients or Vendors is a major part of an Architect’s job profile that is paralysed by the Global Health Crisis.
TECHNOLOGY AS A SAVIOUR
Weeks of quarantine have led to serious consequences like anxiety, depression and loneliness. People are unable to connect with colleagues for informal conversations. The only way interactions are made possible are through Social networking sites and video conferencing.
Technology has also come to the rescue of people working from home. Sharing of files through Cloud Servers, collaborative working on BIM Softwares like Revit or ArchiCAD, and design meetings on Google Meet or Zoom have proven to be helpful in these times.
There are some positive outcomes emanating from these turbulent times that have given us the time and the opportunity to rethink, revisit and revamp our ways of working, living and socializing.
Adapting to the modern day technologies was a long pending update in our field. We must use this time to modernise our modes of work, improve remote working abilities, and cloud storage of project files and implementing the use of BIM.
CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
Work-from-home has also benefited some in other ways. We have reclaimed those wasteful hours spent commuting on the roads that can now be used for leisure activities, self-care and family. Everyone is getting to spend more time with their spouses, babies and pets. This would be the times we cherish later on in lives and some might even choose to work from home even after things get back on track.
Very little is known about the virus and how it will impact our lives in future but one thing is for sure that it is here to stay and we need to adapt our ways of life around it. It is just the start of a great change! Every time we are struck by a crisis, the humanity bounces back stronger and more prepared for the future ahead.
Architects, being the torchbearers of change, will have to lead the way for the rest to follow!