Hello Design Lovers. Today I want to widen the topic I introduced in my last article. Dealing with Project Management in Interior Design during the lockdown period, or in general, when working remotely becomes necessary. So, this time, again, I talk to insiders or people that wish to work in this sector.
As I receive quite a lot of questions about it, I thought I’d give some guidelines that (at least according to my experience) can improve the efficiency and organisation of your remote work. More than that, we want to look at the entire lifestyle that comes with working remotely and managing a team (not to mention construction sites that you cannot access!).
We started with the 7 Best Apps for an Interior Designer to work remotely. In the previous article, you can check some details and real-life experiences I had using these apps. Most of all, I put into words why I think they are absolutely crucial to work efficiently in today’s fast-paced market. Many of these are vital for a business even in normal conditions, so don’t miss them.
Don’t neglect mental and physical well-being
While I often talk about efficiency and effectiveness, it is important to remember your health and well-being and that of the people working with you. Especially in this time, when the majority of people in the industry is working from home, we tend to conduct a messier and more sedentary lifestyle.
A good idea then could be to get some nice-looking and ergonomic furniture pieces. Making sure you keep a good posture during the day, according to your kind of work, and an organised workspace even at home can make a huge difference. If you are interested in knowing more about the benefits of ergonomics in your working life, make sure to check the article with the interview I conducted before here: Can ergonomics improve health? I asked the expert!
There you can find all the answers in case you need to decide whether to buy a sit/stand desk, what type of chair, and even how to set the perfect lighting for a healthy work environment.
Now, let’s see some suggestions for your office space at home:
1. Standard desk with footrest and adjustable lighting
Office Chair – Vitra Chair Physix
Office Desk – Hay CPH 90 Desk
Desk Lamp – Humanscale Infinity
Accessories – Normann Copenhagen Pocket Organiser
Foot Rocker – Humanscale Ergonomic Foot Rocker
2. High desk with adjustable task chair and lighting
Office Chair – HÅG Capisco Puls
Office Desk – Allermuir Silta Desk
Desk Lamp – Hay PC Double Arm W. Table Base Lamp
Accessories – Humanscale Monitor Arm
3. Sit/stand desk and footrest
Office Chair – Humanscale Different World
Office Desk – Humanscale Float Desk
Desk Lamp – Normann Copenhagen Flow Table Lamp EU Black
Accessories – Muuto Arrange Desktop Series
Foot Rocker – Humanscale Ergonomic Foot Rocker
You might have noticed that I quoted quite a few products by Humanscale, this is in no way a sponsored content though. I've just known the brand for a while, and they are very conscious when it comes to ergonomics. Of course, there is plenty of other choices and I have included a few here as well. My objective here is to suggest a few items that look good and work well too in a home-working setup.
Remote site visits
You won't believe how many site visits we've been able to do remotely! Video calls with builders or project managers on-site have become part of our daily life. Sure, it takes more coordination and is not as efficient as being able to see something in person, but it's a decent way to progress and it saves time that you would otherwise spend on travelling.
To make it work, you need to be sure that for each construction site you get a designated person who is available to answer your questions. Those can vary from needing a dimension last minute, or additional photos of a corner that got missed from the first shoot. Also, always ask for videos of the spaces (in addition to photos) because they give you the overall view of the room. If possible, you should also ask for a key plan to accompany the photoshoot but in my experience, those take more effort and people are not willing to spend as long on a photoshoot (that's why you need the videos).
Get efficient with your calls
The fact that our team works remotely means that we now have micro-calls all the time. If you don't organise these properly, you may end up with an agenda that is very scattered, to say the least. Try to group all the meetings, I always have them back to back so that for a certain portion of my day (which, in my case, is usually the morning) I only do calls. This should hopefully free you up some time to focus on actual work without having to interrupt it every 30 minutes to attend a random conference call. Keep your diary updated and try to fill the gaps between calls for efficiency.
If you struggle with organization, you may consider hiring a virtual assistant who for just a few hours a month can help to get your diary in order.
Maintain the Engagement with the team
The final point ties somewhat with the first one but is much more about personal relationships than just business functionality and efficiency.
One important habit, or best practice if you will, to maintain through these times and when working remotely in general, is to video-call all the time. Sharing your daily life and news with your team creates commonality even at a distance; always ask how your team members are doing and get regular updates on what is going on outside work. You should also share some updates about yourself and your life to break the ice and show that you are open to a chat.
Also, right now many people cancelled their office contracts because they are forced to stay home almost every day. It might be a good idea though to maintain at least a limited membership with a co-working (as we do at Spaces). Not only it might give you international access to working spaces if you need to travel, but it also grants you a cheaper option to occasionally meet with co-workers and clients in a good location.
An interior designer perspective
What we learned during this period is that remote work, even when you have construction sites, is not as scary as it may seem. Of course, we are looking forward to getting back to our normal work life but there are some new habits that we would like to keep in the future. Less traveling means more time for ourselves (whether we spend it to work even more or with our families, at least we have a choice), and the chats with the team are quite useful as you can always get back and check how you came up with a proposal or who was in charge of what.
These are suggestions I put together according to our work lifestyle as Interior Designers. It is something that could fit different businesses though now that many people are forced to work from home and travel only for work too. So hopefully they will be useful to many.
Do you have any suggestions you’d give to someone else in this situation? Let me know!