Don't call me remote by Marcus Earnshaw at HLM Architects

The word ‘remote’ is being widely used to describe our teams in recent months however, we must lose this language around our recently dispersed team, they are not ‘home workers’ or ‘remote workers’ they are our team. Ask yourself what are they remote from? When working on a project in Sheffield, we don’t refer to our London, Glasgow, Cardiff or Belfast team members as ‘remote’; they are part of the team.

The practice of the future must look beyond its long term, lease locked locations and into one of a virtual studio encompassing all of our fantastic locations whether they be fixed studios, home studios, coffee shops, etc.

Think team first, location second, think about who you need to interact with and do so, rather than interacting with people sat around you.

Advances in our technology bring us together virtually in ways unimaginable to most some years ago, and now we communicate, collaborate and create fantastic spaces for our clients, irrelevant of our geographic location.

Conversations, chatter, banter, social activities carry on and are enhanced, with people not usually involved feeling more empowered to voice their opinion, or tell that joke with added confidence. Sure, it’s different – but that doesn’t make it worse.

The work we can do whilst in home studios isn’t just resigned to the administrative-type tasks – we can design, develop and create whilst working across a geographically dispersed team. Our tools and systems allow all of this to happen.

Face to face still has its huge benefits and is a very enjoyable and often necessary form of communication, and we should look to provide both options – studios where the team can come together with each other, and welcome clients and consultants when they want or need to, in order to be creative.

We should lead in this space, our attitude and success should scream out to the industry that this works, and can be better – don’t be bullied in conversations that start ‘when are you going back……..’ – we’re not going back, we’re going forwards and explain our approach.

We have seen a huge uplift in communication during this last three months with our teams interacting more than ever before, we’ve learned much more about each other and whilst being further apart, have actually come closer together.

This current ‘crisis’ has given us a huge opportunity to really live what many of us believed in already, the doubters have been proven wrong and the advocates have been able to develop and evolve their thoughts on the methods we use. We’re still refining, but there is no doubt this is the future. It provides greater wellbeing benefits to our teams, costs savings on locations, better ‘in studio’ environments, more time to our staff.

So please when you think of someone working in an alternative location don’t view them as a remote home-worker that might be juggling kids and Netflix or home life, think of them as a valued, fully engaged member of the team, which is what they are.

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