COVER STORY: WORKING FROM HOME: Ar Pavitra Sriprakash,Chief Designer and Director, Shilpa Architects

With major cities in India going into lockdown, there has been little option but to scramble together and learn to work from home! Quickly! We are still very new at this.

I always believed architectural design could not be done from home! So this is a huge change in my thinking and beliefs that I am working against here. Our focus right now is to implement strategies by which we can make the drawing production and creative process something that happens remotely.

In my experience, design is collaborative and iterative and the closer we are to our team of architects, draftsman, engineers and consultants the better our work will be. Collaborating while being in remote locations requires our communication to be top-notch. Also when creative minds get into the flow of work, we forget to communicate with our team and can get carried away in our own space. This is a huge challenge for us.

We have to implement strict communication protocols and force ourselves to coordinate periodically in order to make sure there is a well-coordinated end product.  

Some of the tools we have put in place are helpful to improve communication and also provide some self-check mechanisms to improve our discipline while working from home. There are daily calls project-wise on Zoom to set targets for the day and to clarify any questions on how to proceed for individual team members. These are usually a video call, sharing of screens is essential in order to review the previous work that has been done.

Apart from this, we are all on a free group calling app called Multicall which is available for mobile download. This helps us talk to our project teams for quick audio meetings while keeping it inexpensive and efficient. There are also WhatsApp groups and a lot of phone calls back and forth for quick one on one discussions and decisions. The fact that we have a central server and all the files are on the cloud server also helps us a lot. This makes collaborative working and file sharing seamless.

Most importantly, I think the isolation from WFH can be a little overwhelming. We all miss the office environment and community lunches. I hope to be able to have a virtual ‘fun meeting’ in order to just de-stress a little and have some banter between the team members. It is important for the overall company culture as well, so we don’t forget that human element and sense of community.

Read Full COVER STORY: WORKING FROM HOME: Tips, Tools & Best Practices for REMOTE WORKING

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