Has Your Colorado Architecture Firm Realized The Potential Of Remote Work?

Jul 7, 2021

Has Your Colorado Architecture Firm Realized The Potential Of Remote Work?

Hiring a talented and committed staff locally in the resort towns of Colorado is easier said than done. Have you considered expanding your reach through remote work?

Picture this: a local architecture firm here on the western slope is looking to expand its team. The owner knows he needs to hire more architects, but that’s easier said than done.

The cost of living locally has steadily risen over the past few years, and even more so during the pandemic.

That makes hiring (and keeping) talent difficult. Even if there are a few qualified architects living nearby, it’s likely that they’ll move somewhere more cost-effective within a few years.

What’s this architecture firm supposed to do? Expand their pool of applicants by offering remote work.

Potential Remote Work

Remote Work Is An Increasingly Viable Option

Businesses are hiring more and more remote workers – in fact, it’s the way half the country worked every day even before the pandemic. So many staff members that work from home, outside of the business’ city of operation, and even much further away.

It’s no wonder why – the convenience of being able to take your work wherever you like is a fantastic benefit of current technology. The cloud, when configured correctly, is more than capable of supporting remote access to BIM and CAD programs.

That’s why architects are using it more and more in recent years:

  • Modeling In The Cloud: Many architecture firms these days are operating out of multiple locations. When it comes to joining together remote staff members and distant offices, the cloud is second to none. By centralizing 3D models in the cloud, your carefully managed workflows can continue no matter where your team is. So long as an architect has an internet connection, they can access and work on the 3D model.
  • Manage Your Projects In The Cloud: As great as BIM software has been for architects for years, it’s had a core flaw – it only works for those who are fluent in it. After all, it’s not that accessible if you’re not an architect. While every architect working at a firm may be an expert with Revit, what about the wider community of subcontractors you have to work with? A mason isn’t necessarily going to understand how it works, which slows your workflow and requires someone to translate it out to the other teams. The cloud can help with this as well – new centralized project management platforms bring everyone together in one intuitive cloud location. Software like AutoDesk BIM 360, ArchiCAD BimCloud, or Trimble Connect (which connect team members for file sharing/storage, BIM model viewing, and collaboration) allows architecture firms to bridge the gap between them and the other teams they work with.
  • Rendering In The Cloud: Generating renderings is one of the long-accepted, but nonetheless frustrating, pains in the architecture workflow. Handling the task on-site requires computing power and patience. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your rendering completed in minutes instead of hours? That’s another area in which the cloud can help. New cloud services (such as Nvidia Iray) allow firms to send their designs to outsourced graphics processing units via the cloud, handling the rendering in a much faster, much less resource-intensive way.
  • Analyze Performance In The Cloud: The cloud can also give your firm access to computing power in ways that specifically apply to the work you do every day. For example, you can use Autodesk’s Flow Design to analyze how the wind on a given project site should influence your designs, long before you break ground. This kind of data is so much more time-intensive to study on your own. Do you have the right technologies in place to keep your staff productive at home?

How Do You Build A Remote Work Foundation For Your Colorado Business

Remote working capability is dependent on the implementation of a comprehensive strategy for cloud services delivery. Remote workers need to be able to do their work, and easily. Any obstacles will prevent them from staying productive. If they’re fighting against unintuitive software, a bad connection, or anything else tech-related, their standard workday won’t be all that productive. It won’t be long before your firm’s productivity grinds to a halt. That’s why, so long as the remote worker has a strong Internet connection, the rest of the work is on the IT support team to deliver a responsive and user-friendly cloud platform with which the worker can access their business data.

With those two benchmarks in mind, there’s really only one way to achieve it: migrating all necessary work data to a reliable cloud platform. The more data that’s hosted in the cloud, the better it is for your business.

There are a number of consumer and business-class solutions available to users depending on the size of the organization:

  • Sharepoint
  • DropBox
  • OneDrive

Top Tips To Secure Your Colorado Business’ Remote Work Capabilities

Not all data is stored in line of business offerings. Like other businesses, Architecture companies have data around administration, marketing, archiving, etc. that may be best stored in the cloud with systems they already own like Microsoft 365 via Sharepoint, Teams, and OneDrive.  Don’t forget that remote work comes with its own security considerations which can also be handled by the M365 suite. Keep the following in mind when planning your firm’s remote work model:

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the existing system and account logins. By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re able to make sure that the person using the login credentials is actually who they say they are. However, this isn’t just for websites and common user accounts — 2FA should also be enabled for VPN and Remote Desktops.
  • Conditional Access: Conditional Access software gives you the ability to enforce controls on the access to apps in your environment, all based on specific conditions and managed from a central location. It’s an extra layer of security that makes sure only the right people, under the right conditions, have access to business data.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): A DLP policy tracks sensitive data and where it’s stored, determines who has the authorization to access it, and prevents the accidental sharing of sensitive information.
  • Email Security: Did you know that 96% of phishing attacks and 49% of malware attacks originate as emails? That’s why you should have a powerful email spam and content filter protecting your organization’s inboxes. The right filter will defend against phishing, blatant malware threats, and that don’t involve malware, including impostor emails and business email compromise (BEC).Backups: Given that many businesses are using cloud-based platforms today, users often assume that their data is automatically backed up to a secure off-site location. But is that really the case? Reliable backup capability requires additional support. The key is in finding the right third-party backup solution to support your cloud-based accounts. By adding data backup capabilities, you can make sure all your bases are covered.
  • VPN: When you use a virtual private network (VPN), your data is encrypted, or hidden, as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet. That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data.
  • Endpoint Protection: EDR is an emerging technology that addresses the need for continuous monitoring and response to advanced threats. This is a vital service that protects endpoints like laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, servers, and virtual environments. Endpoint protection may also include antivirus and antimalware, web filtering, and more.

Should Your CO Mountain Region Architecture Firm Hire Remote Workers?

Frankly, it doesn’t seem like you have many other options. Maintaining a local staff in Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, and other Colorado mountain resort towns will be more and more difficult as time goes by.

If you’re not already using the cloud for file sharing, security, and storage, you’re way behind the times. But if you’re also failing to take advantage of the industry-specific features the cloud can deliver, then you’re missing out.

Reach new sources of talent and grow your firm by offering remote work. If you need help getting started, reach out to All Mountain Technologies for expert assistance.