Working remotely during the NY lockdown

The coronavirus has been around since January, yet, it hasn’t been part of public discussion in the US until March. It has came, as a surprise, as the nation has expected this calamity will just avoid the United States. It has forced many people out of their jobs, but for some of us, fortunately, it is possible to work from home.

Architecture by nature has many productive sessions that can be done from home. Many offices I have worked with already embraced the freedom of cloud computing and global access, travelling across the world and working on projects with teams spread across continents. For more traditional offices, it may seem futuristic, but it is actually reality. Having worked for a software company for some years, I already had experience of such collaboration.

Projects can be accessed remotely by accessing the office computers by remote desktop applications. The advantage of that is that the IT setup is easier, the users continue to work with their office computers. The disadvantage is that these applications tend to be slower and we had to test out some of them to finally arrive at a good solution: Microsoft Remote Desktop. The response time is pretty fast and the resolution is great. It has been paired with two-factor authentication for safety, which is really important! It prevents anyone unauthorized from entering our computers remotely, as my phone gets a ping from each attempt, even, if it wasn’t me.

The other option is placing the projects in the cloud server. We have been testing the GRAPHISOFT BIMcloud. The company has made it available for free for 60 days to help architects deal with the remote-work wave triggered by the social distancing regulations implemented in many countries. The idea is that the projects are located in a cloud server that can be accessed globally, even from home. It is running on a secure HTTPS connection and of course it requires a password and username to log in. It is just like accessing your dropbox account from any browser or phone across the world. The advantage is that there is zero IT setup needed, so you only need to have ARCHICAD on your home computer and and internet connection. The downside is that it’s a paid service and it will become quite pricy quickly, when things/prices go back to normal. It’s a great alternative for digital nomads who travel a lot!

I hope my little guide to remote work is useful to the J1 participants who are still in this country. Stay home and follow social distancing guidelines and it will be over sooner with less people infected.

Peter Koncz

I am an architect with 7 years of experience in the AEC technology sector.


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