The trend of working remotely has been growing in the past few years. The idea became popular back in 2012 when Gallup’s data revealed that at least 39% of Americans worked remotely in some capacity. By 2016, the number grew by 4% to 43%. It is no wonder that the trend is expected to rise, even further, now that we are stuck in a global pandemic. Millions of employees are telecommunicating, each day, and are working remotely to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t hamper their company’s work, during these difficult times.
Several companies have realized the benefits of working remotely and are working towards creating better workspace models. One of India’s largest IT companies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is all set to allow 75% of its workforce to work from home, once this pandemic blows over. At the moment, about 90% of their employees are working from home and the TCS has set an example on how to effectively engage with clients, employees, and partners during such testing times.
While it is true that working from home is becoming increasingly popular among the masses, and for obvious reasons, it also poses several challenges. Enabling such conditions can prove to be extremely difficult, especially for small-scale companies. Even then, companies are going the extra mile to ensure that their employees and clients are well taken care of, and the quality and business integrity of the company is not compromised.
We, at the Virtual Building Studio, were far from prepared when the first case of the Coronavirus surfaced in India. But, because of our diligence and proactive actions, we successfully rose to the occasion. It was certainly not going to be a cakewalk. There were unprecedented challenges, but we countered each challenge efficiently and smoothly transitioned to a work-from-home setting.
Let’s take a look at some of the major challenges that we faced during this transition and what we did to overcome the same.
Internet Connectivity Issues
A lot of employees faced connectivity issues; either they didn’t have broadband connections or if they did, the speed was subpar. Internet connectivity is still one of the major challenges in most of the developing countries, and without proper connectivity, working remotely is just not possible. So, to counter this, we provided our employees with special broadband packages with high-performance levels to ensure that each employee was just one click away.
All of the data exchange used to happen through our local server, through computers located in our office premises. One of the most important tasks was to enable remote access and data sharing.
To enable data sharing, we needed a platform that allowed us to connect to each other’s Revit network. We tried several platforms but none of it worked out for us. But then, through BIM 360, we could successfully connect our project data in real-time and coordination became easier beyond this point.
Extracting Older Files
All of our shared data was stored in a local computer server and to continue with our ongoing projects, we needed to retrieve those files.
We used The File Transfer Protocol (FTP), to access our computer server and transfer important files to remote networks.
Time Management and Availability
One of the major challenges that we all face while working from home is time management. There are several distractions and it is easy to fall into the vicious cycle of procrastination. There is neither a routine nor a proper working structure and it is quite a task to get everyone to follow a strict work schedule. To ensure that each employee is on the same page, we have strict guidelines in place and everyone works towards meeting the deadlines.
Communication and Coordination Gaps
To ensure that each person’s efforts are aligned with the others, we need to ensure that the communication flow is properly organized. To address this communication gap, we schedule Zoom meetings every day. To address the lack of motivation, all of our project managers keep in touch with all of the employees on a daily basis.
We also arrange Tambola or Housie evenings, once a week, to relive quarantine frustration and stress, and to ensure that all of our employees feel just as connected virtually.
During these testing times, we pay extra attention to the mental well-being of our employees. There is a lot of negativity around us and the anxiety gets to each one of us. It affects our efficiency and productivity, and to make up for the lack of a healthy working environment, we keep in touch with each of our employees and discuss the problems that we are all facing during this lockdown. A few of our employees were stuck and could not get back to their homes in time. To counter this challenge, we made use of our local resources to reach out to them and help them through the lockdown.
Ensuring Quality and Productivity
To keep a tab on the project timeline, we use a time tracking software called Clockify. Through Clockify, we can successfully manage project timelines and ensure productivity.
The onset of the Covid-19 was as abrupt as it was difficult. But, the bright side of this pandemic is that it has encouraged us to explore various software and tools at our disposal. It has opened up several new possibilities for us to make our organization more versatile, more employee-friendly, more eco-friendly, and this shift in the workspace model has also provided us with the opportunity to hire people from all across the globe to work for us. It is truly wonderful how it took a pandemic for us to realize our untapped potential and the endless opportunities that exist outside of our comfort zones. This transition was not easy, far from it. But, this model has been under development for quite some time now, and these difficult times pushed us towards finally implementing something that should have been implemented a long time ago. We believe that productivity has actually increased with the implementation of this work-from-home model. We don’t know what the coming months have in store for us, but we do know this: come what may, we are prepared, this time around.
We are committed to our employees’ success, their growth and devoted to providing them with the best of the opportunities. Virtual Building Studio provides high quality, time-bound, and cost-effective BIM Services