In this episode of the Smarter Building podcast, we caught up with Dr. Stephen Hamil, Innovation Director at NBS, to gain insights into the future landscape of the construction industry and the upcoming trends in 2024.
Remote working: A longer term proposition
I would have loved to have started this blog by saying this will be an uplifting, humorous and thought provoking read, but unfortunately in these extraordinary and uncertain times it is only the thought provoking part I can try to muster today.
Many of us are now slowly getting used to remote and potentially a long spell of isolated working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there has been a keen focus on supporting digital technology such as online meetings, social media, and collaboration platforms. The adoption of these technologies is paramount to staying connected in these extraordinary times and vendors such as Autodesk are providing access to their 360 collaboration platforms to assist non and existing customers alike to stay connected.
Prior to this global health crisis there had been many articles and publications indicating that the traditional working life based around an office environment was being disrupted. The number of remote workers had already increased by 115 percent over the course of the last decade (C.Trueman, Computerworld, 3 January 2020) and Gartner predicted before COVID-19 that by 2020 half of the US will work remotely most of the time (Future of Work Hidden Trends: Rising Demand for Remote Work, 19 November 2019). You do not have to be a genius or academic to predict that this evolution to increased remote working has just been dramatically accelerated globally.
Remote working provides a wide range of benefits from reduced traffic pollution into the environment, less time wasted travelling, decreased office accommodation cost for businesses, improved work / life balance for employee’s, a phrase coined so often but an aspiration that few actually achieve and opportunities for employment regardless of location or mobility. All of these and many more advantages may immediately become a longer-term reality and are being tested rigorously during these challenging times.
Of course remote working also has its disadvantages, it may not suit everyone and its effectiveness will be based on personal circumstances and type of work. If you are a Quality Assurance, Design or BIM Lead within your business, you will probably already know how difficult it is drive consistency across a business and especially during project delivery. You may also know from personal experience how hard it is getting multiple offices or sites to work the same way. As we move to a world, during and beyond COVID-19, where the project team is increasingly decentralised via remote working, business leaders will need to ensure required standards are maintained. So how is this achieved? For me personally I believe this starts with a company’s Standard Methods and Procedures (SMP’s) - ensuring they are current, complete, concise, issued to all staff and supported with training where necessary. With BIM processes and workflows becoming increasingly important, BIM training is essential to develop and maintain management and technical understanding.
Symetri as a technology focused business transitioned its employees to remote working due to COVID-19, including the delivery of our consultancy and training services which would have been typically delivered on site and face to face. Our BIM training courses, often delivered across a number of days, are now provided in multiple virtual sessions and we are actually increasing our range of virtual consultancy services by providing: BIM Management courses and support, documentation peer reviews, BIM SMP authoring services, Lloyds Register BIM Level 2 + ISO19650 Gap Analysis, project health checks and consultancy support as examples. The customer feedback from this new approach has been overwhelmingly positive. There are many new services so please do have a look at our virtual services, and if you do have the opportunity to review your Standard Methods and Procedures, training and support to your employee’s, especially for those that work remotely, it is highly recommended because increased remote working may be a key element towards a sustainable business future, and become rapidly become the business norm.
I make no apology for such a humourless blog today, but I promise normal service will return next week, keep an eye out for my next Blog BIM Level 2 and Winnie the Pooh.
Wishing you and your family nothing but good health.