The Value of Working Remote: When Virtual Becomes Essential

At AMDG a question we continually ask ourselves is how we can better serve our clients and care for our employees. It turns out our ongoing investment in technology allows us to do both. In this case, remotely.

Over the past few years, we’ve made a concerted effort to be able to perform as well in person as from a distance. For our clients this means being able to engage in meaningful design discussions, whether across town, across the state, or in places like Illinois, Kentucky, and New Mexico.

An effective virtual work platform also gives our employees the time and freedom to do their best work from just about anywhere. A further benefit is being able to collaborate with design and building consultants anywhere in the world. With the right technology in place, where people happen to be at any given moment is no longer an impediment to doing great work.

Of course, creating a remote workplace may be easier for some organizations to pull off than others. Rather than a simple spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation, the nature of our work requires real-time sharing of 3D animation and rendering software. We made significant strides when we implemented multiple cloud-based systems that allow our design teams to collaborate when apart, or be able to sketch ideas for clients without having to be in the same room.

When the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced in the U.S., our efforts jumped from a value-added benefit to an essential. With strict shelter-in-place mandates for non-essential work, we and countless other businesses were forced to put our remote workplace capabilities to the test. We were elated with the results.

100% Remote Collaboration
All in-person meetings seamlessly transitioned to virtual using the Zoom platform. This includes everything from client presentations to quick chats between team members. Instead of the typical phone tree, the platform even allows our office administrator to answer calls personally. The amount of collaboration has been remarkable. In one week alone, we logged 166 meetings with 729 participants over 27,315 minutes.

Supporting A Virtual Work Style
For our clients and partners, we’re using SketchUp, Revit, and Enscape software to create 3D renderings and conduct virtual design tours. Plus, our software and documentation is now easily accessible using the cloud-based BIM 360 platform, which connects design teams and data throughout the design/build process. For our clients, consultants, and builder partners, we’re able to perform the same work as we would in our offices.

In keeping with our Core Value of Constant Improvement, we are continuing to optimize our remote meeting and work practice. What hurdles do we still face? How can we communicate and perform better when working apart? We are using this time to learn from each other and find out.

In the end, we are grateful to have been so well prepared for an event few could have foreseen. Beyond serving our clients seamlessly, we are blessed to be able to keep our team members employed and doing what they love. Our investment in technology is paying dividends in ways we couldn’t have imagined—keeping dedicated professionals working at a very high level.