How has the pandemic changed your behaviour?

I asked five professional interior designers, all members of the BIID, if there are changes they have introduced during lockdown that they will retain moving forward.

Emma Sims Hilditch, “We have chosen to use COVID as a learning opportunity when it comes to our business, using it to make positive change.

For instance, we have resurrected our staff wellness plan, whereby we instigate a range of mindful activities to keep our team feeling happy, healthy and motivated. This includes virtual Pilates classes at lunch and having virtual coffee breaks for staff birthdays!

Whether you’re working remotely, or eventually able to go back to the office, it’s so important to take on these nourishing activities to keep the team feeling connected, so we will certainly be continuing this moving forward.”

Emma Sims Hilditch, founder and creative director Sims Hilditch (image of a recent project above)

A recent kitchen project from Yoko Kloeden

Yoko Kloeden, “The biggest change we made, apart from all of us working from home, is that we offer our initial consultation over a zoom call now and this will continue after the lockdown ends.

People are much more receptive to the idea of sending initial information required for the call. Whether they are architects’ plans or photos or videos of the property.

In the past year, we sold all the projects before visiting a site.”

Yoko Kloeden of Yoko Kloeden Design

James Brindley, “I was working with several international clients prior to Covid so was already using a number of remote meeting and presentation techniques, however the biggest change is the ability to engage with clients during the design phases of a project via screenshare. Due to the nature of the software I use, I am able to collaborate with clients in a realtime environment, allowing them opportunities to make suggestions and instantly visualise how that idea could look in real life, letting them see behind the magicians curtain almost.

With inspiration sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, clients can share images of buildings and designs they love and we can, within seconds, apply a sense of that design to their proposal. There is a revolution, with the clients now much more able to share their ideas with designers!

Along with my experience and training, this design collaboration can enrich a scheme hugely and I plan to maintain this process for the foreseeable future.”

James Brindley, director at Design Haus Architecture

Home office created by Lucy Clark at Studio Clark

Lucy Clark, “Facetime meetings have been great on site when I’m not able to attend in real life. I get called frequently by builders and contractors with various questions and many minor queries can be resolved on Facetime which I didn’t utilise before.  

Now that I am set up for remote working, I will certainly get a better balance with working from home and the office.

It really has brought out many positives in working relationships, reinforcing valued contact with suppliers based on integrity, mutual support and reliability.”

Lucy Clark at Studio Clark + Co

Bathroom project from Rascal & Roses

Verity Coleman, “We have been much more proactive with forging relationships with clients in a remote setting than ever before. We were lucky enough to work with clients before the pandemic that were not always available for design or site meetings, so had some experience in liaising with clients in this way but the pandemic definitely made us solidify this process. We now have a fully remote onboarding process for clients if we need to use it, from initial enquiry all the way through to the initial design work.

When I started Rascal & Roses I wanted to create an environment where we could have a very mobile workforce, in a way different to the traditional 9-5 office set ups.  Whilst it is essential for us to be in the studio at times, allowing flexibility from where people work has been key to allowing the team to grow. We have been very lucky to move almost seamlessly to home working when we had to and being able to access everything we need from our cloud hosted IT system. This will definitely be maintained moving forward. Having access to documents and information anywhere in the world has really helped take the pressure off for the whole team and helped us work more collaboratively across all functions of the business (from the studio to site management).

The pandemic has showed us very clearly that our online presence has never been more important. Moving out of the pandemic we will be focusing even more on our reach with clients and suppliers and trying to make new connections in new ways. That said, there really is no substitute for seeing samples and products in real life, so we are very excited to attend the next round of trade shows!”

Verity Coleman, Director, Rascal & Roses

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