What if…? Thoughts on working on the kitchen table.

Alistair Scott reflects on the process of homeworking.

One of the few advantages of the Covid is gaining a perspective on the last 20 odd years of communication technology. You see, for us at SSM this is not our first period of homeworking! That occurred in 2000 when as a young practice we were challenged with  converting a tropical fish shop in Edinburgh’s (due to become trendy) Leith Walk into our dream studio!

A less-than-ideal combination of old building / limited budget / small, inexperienced builder and the fact that we had needed to vacate our previous rented premises had left us homeless for a few months – trying to run a growing practice from our houses and various cafes. We based our limited computer kit in Eugene Mullan’s dining room and worked on drawing boards and our own kitchen tables. Drawings were distributed by bicycle and co-ordination done at meetings after the kids were asleep. We got through it though, due to hard work, understanding clients and good luck.

Roll on to 2020 and as a mature practice of almost 30 people we are on the same trail again. However, this time we have Microsoft Teams / Zoom / advanced remote access capability and although perfecting this was challenging, it is working much better than some of the practice luddites (basically me) had feared it would. And its not just us, the whole industry has progressed by 10 years in a few months and has embraced what I think will be a better, blended, healthier future for us all.

But I will leave you with a sobering thought – what if this had happened in 2010? Not only would it have doubled down on the financial crisis, but the days of paper and drawing board had gone and the electronic technology of that era just couldn’t cope with effective remote working. Even our bicycle distribution system wouldn’t have saved the day. So, you see how lucky we are!