Monday 30 March 2020

These are Crazy Times!!

I think we all agree these are extraordinary times. 

With all non-essential workers being asked to stay home, people are faced with 2 choices: Wait for everything to “go back to normal” or Re-invent the way that we participate in the world.

AEOS Consulting was born out of a shared vision of a kinder, more efficient and more flexible AEC environment. An environment where both people and results matter equally.

A place to thrive.

As a community of creators, all of us in the AEC world have an opportunity to take actions that will benefit our businesses, ourselves, and our communities now and in the future.

Check our website to see how AEOS is primed to help your firm thrive remotely.

Stay safe. Together, apart, we will get through this.


Tuesday 24 March 2020

10 Tips for Working From Home

I’ve been fortunate to work and run my business from home for several years. 

Initially, it was a challenge, and given the current situation with Covid-19 and the need to self-isolate, many design firms are enabling their staff to work from home.

Here are my top 10 tips on how to manage this transition and avoid the pitfalls and challenges of working from home.
1.     Make space
Set aside a space that will become your office. Don’t set up on the kitchen table. Aside from the bad ergonomics, it’s an imposition on your life outside working hours. If you have a spare room, that’s great, if not, pick a quiet corner where you can place a desk and make it your “working hours” space.

2.     Get organized
Set yourself up as you would previously. Have the same stationery on hand, your coffee cup, printer, phone etc. Set up your files and resources. By being organized you’ll feel more productive and define the space as a “work” environment. Research the right tools enabling you to connect with the office and your colleagues.

3.     Get into a routine
When I first started working from home it was very easy to get distracted and side-tracked with chores around the home…. I had to do the laundry, the dishes, mow the lawn, water the grass, vacuum… all ll before I could focus on my work. Figure out a schedule for when you’re "at work", and stick to it.

4.     Prepare the kids
Have activities planned and prepared for the kids the night before so you have a strategy for the day. I understand that having small children at home can be a challenge! Don’t be so hard on yourself or them: this is an adjustment for all of you. Once a routine gets established it will become a lot easier. It’s ok to check on the kids, spend 5 or 10 minutes frequently making sure “all is ok”. Spending that time is more constructive than you becoming frustrated.

You might also want to make it clear to your family and friends that you work during the day and even though you are at home, it’s not ok to pop by for a chat, or invite you to golf for a 2pm tee time. They wouldn’t do this while you're at the office so they shouldn’t expect it to be any different now that you are working from home.

5.     Your hours
Your job may require you to work 8 hours, that doesn’t mean you have to work 8 hours straight. Spread out your hours in a way that makes sense for your life. I found this makes me more productive and relieves some of the pressure of working from home.

Avoid the “I’ll just finish this” trap.
It’s a balancing act, there is a time to shut down the computer and finish for the day. Personally, I have strict hours (I have no kids at home) so I have a start time in the morning, I stop for lunch at noon for an hour and I have an “end-time” at the end of the day when I close the door to my office and I essentially “leave work”.

6.     Enjoy the commute
My commute is brutal, down the hall, often have to wait at the intersection due to traffic (the dogs laying on the floor), around the corner and park my butt in my chair. When I first started to work from home, my commute to work reduced by 45 minutes… that’s 90 minutes of the day that I got back. Take that time and invest it in yourself: go to the gym, go for a walk, enjoy breakfast, this is a perk of working from home.

7.     Get dressed
Seriously. It’s easy to work in your pyjamas but it’s not conducive to a “working” mindset. Dress the same as if you're going into the office.

8.     Be social
Even though you work from home, you can still interact and engage with your colleagues. Video conferencing is the best way to do this. I use MS Teams for this and it’s a great way to communicate with my team. We frequently video call and this increases the connectivity and collaborative environment, similar to that which you would get in an office environment.

9.     Enjoy
It’s a great privilege to be able to work from home. Not only can it be a very productive environment, but also an enjoyable one.

Get yourself set up the right way and enjoy the freedom that working from home provides!

Monday 23 March 2020

Supporting the Architecture and Engineering Design Industry

During these challenging times, we all need to do our utmost to continue supporting commerce and our economy.

Fortunately, the Architecture and Engineering design industry has the provisions to support remote collaboration, allowing project team members to work from home.

Setting up staff to work from home can be challenging for firms who have limited knowledge or resources. At AEOS Consulting, we can help set up your projects and staff, allowing them to continue production. Be it CAD or BIM projects, the resources are available to support the continuation of your business.

Call or email AEOS today to discuss how we can support you during this challenging time.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Profitability is a Byproduct of Good Work

A successful client of ours recently made this statement during one of our meetings: “Profitability is a byproduct of good work.” This got me thinking about how businesses approach being profitable.

In business, there is a high priority to maintain profitability; without it, businesses do not survive.

However, how businesses are profitable can determine how long they will be profitable.
At AEOS Consulting, we can help future proof your organization by supporting your Growth and Development strategy.

Quite often we see companies make budget cuts to resources and limit spending and activities (such as training), all in an effort to reduce costs and improve profitability.
No.. of course it doesn’t. If the process is broken, then the action of making further cuts, potentially eliminating the possibility of making positive change is not going to help! Cuts being made by large companies in an effort to retain the viability of a business are usually made too late. These sacrifices - often at the cost of employees - are made in haste and in an effort - often too late - to stay in business.

Why does this happen?

This happens because there is a lack of foresight and a level of complacency in business operations. We can't afford to make changes because it will impact our (short term) profitability.” These statements are a result of fear of change and fear of risk.

As an instigator of positive change, I often hear rationale such as “we don’t have the budget” or “we can't change how we currently do things”. Budget is often a big factor, and I understand that being prudent of expenditure is important for the success of any organization, this needs to be balanced with the desire for progress and investing in the infrastructure of the organization. This infrastructure should include investing in the capabilities of staff as well as process and workflow resulting in improved efficiency.

The challenge!

The challenge for any organization is to balance the cost of internal development and implementing positive change and innovation with maintaining a status quo.

At AEOS we typically see three types of clients:

Type 1: Early Adopters Innovative, progressive, recognizes a need to “keep up” with industry developments to retain market share. Recognizing the need for change is a key factor.

Type 2: Late Majority Less progressive but if made aware of inefficiency can be receptive to improving process. Recognizes the benefit of improving the skills of staff. Cost is a key factor.

Type 3: Laggards Processes are old and out of date, training is limited or unavailable. Any significant changes to workflow would likely have a significant pushback from both management (due to the disruption to production) and staff (it falls outside of their comfort zone).

From the above three scenarios who do you expect will be still in business, 5, 10 or 15 years from now?

Future proof your organization

Through dedicating time and resources to internal development you can mitigate not only the impact of disruption to production but also the cost of falling behind. Progress is an integral aspect of the organization's Growth and Development Strategy; anticipating and planning for change is the key, and by doing so you will be in a very good position to weather any challenges your business may face and see positive growth and development.

By producing good work efficiently, with staff that is happy, within a culture that encourages improvement, profit comes more easily.  Plan for change, anticipate costs so you can budget for it, and invest in the future profitability of your business.