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Beyond COVID-19, How to afford remote work.

  • 1.  Beyond COVID-19, How to afford remote work.

    Posted 04-02-2020 19:58
    Dear Fellow Architects.

    I'd like to have this blog post to be an open discussion about what everyone learned from the multi-week remote work experience. With many smaller and larger firms are currently struggling with technology, we anticipate a sudden spike in overhead expenses and reduced profits.

     What are some of the discovered free or affordable tools that can be used by small teams with no or minimal impact on the profitability of their firms? I hope this discussion can be beneficial for people seeking immediate solutions.

    Please keep in mind that we are not advertising or endorsing any products or services, we are sharing our practical experiences and struggles in the past few weeks.


    Below is my personal list that is able for immediate use.

    Video Conferencing

    1. FreeConferenceCall.com: Pros:(Free 1 room), Cons: usually not suitable for discussing confidential projects.
    2. Zoom:  Pros: Free/ unlimited 1 to 1 meetings, Free 40min max group meetings.

    Remote Access

    1. Microsoft Remote Desktop for PC & MAC: Pros: Free. Cons: Requires VPN / Network Gateway.
    2. Chrome Remote Desktop: Pros Free, easy install, Cons: Requires Chrome Browser and Gmail or Gsuite Account.

    Remote- Software access Licensing

    1. Fra.me: Set up a Windows computer on the cloud with necessary design software, suitable for a multi-user account.
    2.  Rhino Zoo: A cloud license management for Rhino, Free of charge if you own at least 1 rhino license

    Cloud Storage & Sharing

    1. Owners of Office 365, get around 1TB of data storage.
    2. Owners of Gmail business accounts have multi-tiered google drive storage plans.

    Office Phone Products (Voice Ove IP)

    1. Ring Central Essentials (Up to 20 users / $20 per month per user)
    2.  Mitel Business phone essentials (unlimited users / $21 per month per user)

    Remote Team Collaborations tools
    1. Bluebeam Studio (Document coordination). free of charge for Bluebeam users.
    2. Slack vs. Basecamp vs. Microsoft teams.
    3. Zoho Connect, Social media for work.

    Benefits, Billing, Bookkeeping and Payroll

    1. Paylocity: Payroll, HR, Benefits, Talent Recognition
    2. Clear Company: Talent Development
    3. Quickbooks:  Financial Management, good for small businesses


    These are my lists, for now, I'd like to have everyone share their experience with some of the remote tools. trying to keep our list as affordable as possible.



    ------------------------------
    Tay Othman AIA
    Project Architect
    DES Architects & Engineers
    Concord CA
    ------------------------------
    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 2.  RE: Beyond COVID-19, How to afford remote work.

    Posted 04-03-2020 22:02
    Hi Tay,

    In our 20 people firm we were able to move swiftly to remote work from home mode.

    We use Google Suites (which includes Google Meet) with unlimited cloud storage for every user, as well as unlimited storage on Shared Drives (paid).

    For Administrative and Accounting purposes we use CORE by BQE (paid) and for project planning and team task management rely on Asana (free online version).

    We also have a local in-house Server for which we have remote access thru a VPN. For phone purposes everyone is using their cell phones, both cellular lines as well as WApp video and voice calls.

    We have been able to stay mostly productive - I would say at about 75% capacity - working in the projects which have not been suspended and/or with clients that still have the interest and attention to keep theirs moving ahead.

    At the moment we have not let go of any of our team members, though we anticipate that if things don't change within the next month we will be forced to do so with at least one of our Administrative Staff.

    Hope this adds to the conversation.

    Keep safe,

    ------------------------------
    Rafael Selman Intl. Assoc. AIA
    Principal/CEO
    Selman & Asociados - Arquitectura
    Doral FL
    ------------------------------

    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!