Digital Transformation at a Moment’s Notice: The rest of your questions answered!

I am so thrilled to announce that registration for the DTS Online discussion sessions has opened!  

We kicked off DTS Online in mid-June with a panel discussion Digital Transformation at a Moment’s Notice featuring Natasha Luthra (Jacobs), Brian Skripac (CannonDesign), Tomislav Zigo (Clayco), Alexandra Pollock (fxcollaborative).

Our panelists provided great feedback on how their companies were doing with the transition to 100% remote workforce in the matter of weeks and how things are looking now and in the immediate future. There were some great lessons learned and tips and experiences shared, and it helped to demonstrate that we are truly “in this together”. If you missed it, have no fear the recording is available for viewing, and hopefully it will pique your interest in attending our follow-up sessions. 

Speaking of our follow-up sessions, the next session is scheduled for August, this will be a full series of moderated discussions making use of Zoom breakout rooms. We are planning to have some special guests as part of those sessions to help kick start and participate in the conversation. Our focus in August will be on the changes your firm has gone through, the benefits and drawbacks you’ve experienced and what it all means for our future, both the immediate and long term. See more on the DTS Online events page

Our panel discussion was a full ninety minute of conversation that almost everyone stuck around for. During that course of that discussion in addition to our moderator led questions, we had some great questions from the audience. In fact, we had so many we couldn’t address them all! Therefore, we followed up with our panelists and polled them on their responses to the questions we couldn’t address, here we’d like to present our summary of those responses, and we hope this will encourage you to attend our next session(s). 
Charles Portelli asked: Considering that employees are home with their kids and having to juggle homeschooling and working, are firms starting to rethink their benefits packages? 
Alexandra – We have not made changes to benefits, but encouraging everyone to be flexible with parents as far as work hours and meetings. 
Natasha – Our firm is rethinking almost everything about how we work – from HR policies to Legal as well as technology of course. I am not sure if they have had the benefits discussion yet but I am sure it will be reviewed as part of this process. 
Brian – Our firm has a “Return to Work” taskforce but I’ve not been part of that discussion so I can’t comment more on this. 

Rohit Arora asked: Did you consider getting business class internet to the employees? (typical home service has very low upload caps ~ 5 mbps) 

Brian – This has not been a topic that I’m aware of, but since all of firm’s staff has already been using VM Ware to access our virtual desktops at our data center this was less of an issue. 
Natasha – We have not as yet, though we are intending to move to a VDI situation which would in some ways reduce the impact of quality of internet if we do this right. It is certainly going to be a huge issue specially since we have to consider locations where the variability of internet service is really dramatic. 
Alexandra – No 

An anonymous attendee asked: Have you got plans for what happens when you return to the office? How you manage the return of staff? Will the remote working continue? How to you capture all of the learnings from the different … 

Alexandra – We will be returning in October to a new space currently being fitout.  We will likely have a hybrid solution where we limit the number of staff in the office.  Which staff are in the office and when will be worked out based on staff comfort level and social distancing protocols. We anticipate remote work to continue for our firm into the future as part of our new normal. 
Brian – The plans are still in the works but we’ll be following the CDC’s guidelines and 6′ social distancing. When social distancing cannot be achieved due to current office layouts we’ll implement alternating days in the office for staff and they will continue to work from home when not in the office. There was also a small pilot done of wearing a mask for 8 hours a day at home to see if feasible and it was not. 
Natasha – Yes, we have plans for what happens when we return. We have two separate plans/initiatives being work on right now – one focused on the short term and the other on what we think the future of our work will look like. Remote work will certainly continue and be a big part of our future plans. Dealing with all the issues around collecting and sharing institutional knowledge is part of this planning effort as well. 

Continue the discussion of Digital Transformation in the AEC going forward and participate with the DTS Community. We hope you can join us at the next DTS Online in August. Register here

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