Before lockdown we had 20 people in the studio. With lockdown we all went home. To begin with it was worrying and frustrating dealing with issues one would normally tackle face to face, feeling remote from staff, restarting computers at the office as connections fell off, etc.
The new normal requires more effort: working on Zoom and phone calls; achieving clarity of design intent. It’s a surreal world. The banter isn’t the same and I think the younger members of the office feel lost without the immediacy of mentorship. They certainly feel lost without broadband connectivity! Many people simply don’t have a good setup to work from home so have volunteered to return to the studio.
The positive is that we have all honed our IT communication skills, and I’m sure this form of working is here to stay while the threat of this and future pandemics looms over us. We will get used to it, with people working from the studio as they feel it is safe to do so. In the past we have had a few practice socials and sparked a few relationships (now with babies!) – so socialising with staff on Zoom doesn’t cut the mustard!
We all make our own choices about getting to work, much as we did before the lockdown. Some cycle, walk or scoot just to stay fit and healthy. These are personal choices as they have always been. I’m interested in how these pandemics will affect our cities and transport, and have been a part of an initiative called Bikelines, aimed at getting people back to work safely on big cycleways radiating from the centre of London out to the suburbs. We are pitching at a high level as the details are very complex. The aim is to encourage cycling for all as a safe and secure way to move around our city.
We have new staff joining for new projects we have continued to pick up during the lockdown, so the future looks bright. In terms of our work, I’m optimistic and I look forward to the sound of banter and laughter filling the office alongside the creative buzz of creative minds at work.