Author: Greg McQueen
Tools for remote work:
Eugene picked up a number of tools for effective remote learning.
Remote working is only possible when practices trust their employees. In a remote environment, that requires setting up systems and routines to facilitate clear communication and to monitor progress. Eugene’s office used a combination of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams to stay in touch.
Eugene knew that he was only able to explore incredible places because of the relationship he had with his practice. That forced him to prioritise his architectural work each day. He made sure his itinerary was relaxed, staying in places for a week or ten days. This let him explore slowly, without having to rush from attraction to attraction. He also planned each day carefully; if he wanted to visit a museum in the afternoon he’d work from a nearby coffee shop in the morning to reduce travel time.
Find working hours which work for you and the practice. Eugene established a routine of working for five hours in the early morning, exploring during the midday and then working again in the evenings when the Cape Town office was online. Eugene found a system which worked for him; he was able to both explore and stay abreast of his work requirements. Maybe its worth testing different strategies during the lockdown to investigate how to best structure your day?
Before booking a hostel, Eugene researched whether there were places nearby where he could work. There are many digital nomad blogs devoted to this kind of information and Google maps is great resource as well. He also made sure to arrive in a new city on a Saturday. That gave him the rest of the weekend to locate the best WIFI and work hotspots near his hostel so that he could hit the ground running on a Monday morning.
The type of work you’ll be doing is important to consider when working and travelling. Work which doesn’t require lots of collaboration is best for working abroad. Construction documentation doesn’t require much feedback whilst conceptual design is often more collaborative.
As we’re to rethink how and where its possible to work, maybe its time to imagine a future remote work will become a year round possibility.
Greg McQueen is a candidate architect and part-time lecturer at the University of the Free State. He is interested in the spaces between buildings, inner city rejuvenation and how architecture shapes societal relationships.