As the world endures COVID-19, we all are encouraged to stay home and quarantine ourselves from others in order to flatten the curve. Northworks’ architects & designers have been doing our part by working from home over the past month. Northworks is fully set up to continue serving our clients from our new home offices during these uncertain times. At four weeks in, we’ve had time to fine-tune our setups and adjust to this new normal. Though the settings are new, our workflows remain efficient per usual—with four offices spread across the country, collaborating remotely is nothing new for Northworkers. We often share team members between Jackson, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. We know how to stay on top of projects from a distance and how to communicate quickly across time zones.
We start each week with an all-office conference call to discuss the current state of each project. From there, we set our goals for the week and run full-speed ahead (per usual). We communicate with our project teams through Slack, email, and good-old-fashioned phone calls. Our projects keep moving through Go-To Meetings, and we end each week with a critically important virtual happy hour.
Northworks partner Bill is staying busy at his home in Illinois, taking calls while basking in the natural light from the bay windows. Meanwhile, half-way across the country, another partner, Austin, is hunkering down in this cozy Wyoming cabin.
As architects and designers, we’re doing what we can to customize our spaces–whether the backdrop is mountain views in Jackson or a Chicago cityscape. We’re set up in our favorite rooms and appreciating new details, from views of nature to fun paint colors. Some of us take quick exercise breaks and lunchtime dog walks. We’re enjoying our new co-workers—many of us have roommates, husbands, or wives who are also in the architecture & design industries. It’s fun to bounce ideas off of someone who “speaks the language” but has an outside point-of-view. Sometimes overhearing conference calls just brings an ounce of normalcy to the weirdness of work-life suddenly colliding with home-life. Other perks include more time to spend with family, petting a cat while on the phone, and full fridge access for creative lunch options.
There is no substitute for the creative and collaborative energy that is characteristic of our Northworks studios—and we are looking forward to a time when we can all be together again.
We’re staying optimistic and busy, but we miss the exchange of ideas that happens organically every day in our Northworks studios. Whether it’s asking advice about a code interpretation, sitting down in the conference room with a fresh set of drawings, or just our trademark office banter, there are certain things we truly miss about being together. While we’re grateful to be fully functioning, there is no substitute for the creative and collaborative energy that is characteristic of our Northworks studios—and we are looking forward to a time when we can all be together again.