Remote Work Potential for Architecture Firms in Denver
The way Americans work is starting to shift away from the 9-5 in an office setting and towards more flexible, remote work. This work style benefits both employees and employers alike, so it’s no surprise why it’s gaining popularity. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 5.7 million employees (4.1% of the U.S. employee workforce) currently work from home half of the time or more, and 82% of U.S. employees want to work from home at least some of the time when the pandemic is over.
Studies into remote working have made one thing clear: remote workers are more productive than their office-bound counterparts, by up to 35-40%. They’re also happier and stay with their companies longer than onsite employees. But what’s even more beneficial about remote work for Denver architecture firms is the access to a broader pool of talent.
If you’re looking to expand your team and hire qualified, skilled architects or engineers, finding local talent may be challenging. With the rising cost of living in Denver and the Front Range, more and more people are moving away to cost-effective places. This makes hiring and retaining qualified talent difficult. By hiring remotely, you eliminate these obstacles. Rather than having to choose from the local talent pool only, you can now connect with someone who has the right experience and professional skills even though they may live halfway across the country.
Moving to the Cloud Opens Up More Opportunities
Today, architecture and engineering firms are starting to use the cloud for more than just file sharing and storage. Whether it’s a schematic design or project management with BIM, outsourced tasks such as rendering, or energy performance analysis, the days of relying primarily on company servers are quickly disappearing.
Here are a few ways you can use the cloud:
- Modeling: Having a centralized 3D model in the cloud is vital if you’re working with a dispersed team. The idea of shipping models back and forth isn’t fast enough for how you need to react to clients. A cloud-based system allows you to collaborate with your team in real-time, no matter where they are, as long as they have an internet connection.
- Project management: While BIM software is a fantastic tool for architects, it has one underlying flaw – it only works well for those who understand. The reality is, not everyone in your firm is a Revit expert. A structural steel fabricator or a mason who doesn’t work in Revit will need someone to translate it. This is a very disconnected process from the design view to the fabricator or engineering view, slowing down your workflow. Cloud computing solves this problem by offering new centralized project management platforms, such as AutoDesk BIM 360 and ArchiCAD BimCloud, that bridge the gap between architects and the other teams they work with and allow team members to connect and collaborate via one platform. Software like Trimble Connect combines file management, BIM model viewing, and messaging, allowing different parties to work on the same information set.
- Rendering: Instead of waiting overnight for models to render, designers can expedite the resource-draining process by capitalizing on the cloud’s computing power. Cloud services like Nvidia Iray allow architecture firms to send their designs off-site to outsourced graphics processing units via the cloud and receive incredible results in seconds or minutes rather than taking all night to compute.
- Securely store your files: One of the biggest concerns for an architecture firm is storing company files and managing licenses. A firm will typically have an onsite server that stores all the company files. However, accessing the server remotely can slow things down if Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or other bulky software is used. Moving your operations to the cloud allows you to get around this. Microsoft 365, Google Drive, or Dropbox will enable you to store your files securely in the cloud.
- Performance analysis: Cloud computing also provides you with energy and building performance analysis tools accessible in any location. For example, you can use Autodesk’s Flow Design to analyze the movement of energy in, out, and through the rooms and volumes in a building model. This information can help you make better-informed decisions that cost-effectively improve performance and reduce the environmental impact of buildings.
How to Secure Your Remote Workforce
Here are a few key strategies you should consider implementing to keep your essential data and applications secure:
- Set up a VPN: A VPN works by extending enterprise network security features into a public internet connection, effectively creating a secure tunnel that people can use to access the network securely. Ensure that your VPN solutions are up to date both on the server or firewall that provides the VPN solutions or on the remote user desktops.
- Implement two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security for user accounts, significantly decreasing the risk of unauthorized access and system breaches. It ensures that access, whether to cloud-based services or full network access, is by authorized users only.
- Review your access policies: Just because your employees need to access network data and applications remotely doesn’t mean they need access to everything hosted on the network. By clearly establishing roles with specific access credentials, you can limit the risk of a single compromised account contributing to a broader data breach.
- Implement zero-trust network access: Zero-trust approach to network security revolves around one simple principle: never trust, always verify. Zero-trust network access keeps remote users separated from the network and only provides access to appropriate applications for the user’s role through the cloud intermediary. Since users don’t log into the network environment itself, there’s very little chance of malware or a cyber attacker using a compromised account to spread to different portions of the network.
- Implement a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy: This defines how organizations can share and protect data. DLP tracks data, and where it’s stored determines who has the authorization to access it and prevents accidental sharing of sensitive information.
- Setup endpoint protection: This is especially critical in a remote workplace with so many more endpoints and potential vulnerability vectors. Endpoint protection evaluates an endpoint such as a mobile device before permitting access, ensuring that it’s up-to-date and meets defined enterprise security standards before it’s granted access. This prevents the introduction of security vulnerabilities through devices that don’t meet pre-defined security rules.
IT Solutions To Maximize Your Remote Working Potential
It’s undeniable that remote working opens up a world of opportunities for architecture firms in Denver and the Front Range. Initial.IT offers comprehensive IT solutions designed to help you maximize the full potential of remote working. From Office 365 and server migrations, Voice IP & Wireless services dedicated IT support, IT consulting, to managed IT services, we have everything to keep you and your remote team productive and right on track at all times.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.