26.03.2020 Leoni Spies

Converting to digital systems: How architectural firms are dealing with the corona crisis

How has everyday life in your office changed?

97% of 140 employees have been working from home office since last week. What we wanted to try out as a test suddenly became reality in the course of the week. The infrastructure was built up with a lot of energy and is running well. Communication takes place via telephone and video conferencing in a separate app with a corresponding project and various channels. The office is in principle physically closed.

How do you deal with the Corona crisis – do your projects continue?

We immediately implemented all official recommendations for the response to the Corona crisis in the office. In the first step, 50% of the employees and management went to the home office. In the second step the other 50%. All within one week.
We cannot yet make a final assessment of how the project situation will develop. The daily changes in the way the Corona crisis is handled will certainly spread to the construction sector at some point. However, at the moment we do not have the dramatic changes as in other sectors.
What tips can you give colleagues?
With foresight, now convert the office into digital systems. Home-office and tandem strategies enable stable operation in planning.
What are your plans for after the quarantine?
Even before the crisis, we had already focused very strongly on the implementation of sustainability goals in the projects. To this end, we also formed a working group in the office as part of the 'Phase Sustainability' initiative of the DGNB and the German Federal Chamber of Architects, which develops various strategies and makes them available to employees. Furthermore, we have changed the planning of various projects as a pilot project for CO2 neutral buildings. Together with the building owners we are now trying to put sustainable construction methods into practice. After the quarantine, we hope that a more refined approach to sustainability can be installed in the construction process and that everything does not fall back into old habits.

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