Designing a Policy - Studio Architects in Austin, Texas

We’ve made mention in our last newsletter of the central role our team members play to the vitality of our firm. Along with many of our colleagues around the world, each of us has spent the last several months adjusting to sudden, profound changes in our professional landscape. Some of these adjustments have been harder than others; we certainly miss connecting with each other without the barrier of a computer screen. Still, in light of the pandemic’s lasting impact and our collective new reality, many businesses, including ours, are considering making the once temporary switch to (at least partial) remote work more permanent. In order to further bolster the efforts we’ve made thus far to ensure productive, meaningful interaction virtually, we know we need a rock solid plan, one that is as unique in its form as we are as a firm.

To be sure, even a partial transition to virtual practice comes with its pros and cons. Working in an architecture firm is a singular experience; there are many aspects of this work that are enhanced by flexible work arrangements, and many others for which there is simply no substitute to in-person engagement. Our approach to this remote work project and its challenges will be no different than any other that our firm undertakes: we will first listen to each other and develop a program outlining the particular aspects of our firm (our program requirements), and then identify the potential problems to be solved by our plan (our site constraints) before ultimately diving in to a few rounds of iterative design, with the goal of arriving at a finished product that is so inclusive that it seems inevitable. We know our profession demands frequent meetings, abundant creative interaction, concentrated communication, empathy, and connection. Any remote work policy we design will need to clearly account for these factors.

The task at hand may seem quotidian, but the choices we make in crafting this policy will impact our business and our team members and, like each building we design, must reflect our firm’s core values. It’s important that we get it right, so we’ll use the same tool we use on all our architectural projects, our consistent process, to achieve a unique outcome that is befitting a team eager to charge forward into our (ever-evolving) world.