Virtual happy hours: How is the Beijing office of MAD Architects dealing with the Corona pandemic
Architects: MAD, Beijing (CN), Los Angeles (US), New York (US), Rome (IT)
How has everyday life in your office changed?
Ma Yansong: The biggest change, like many, has been not having face-to-face real-time discussion, which is particularly important for architecture. We moved to conducting our internal and external office meetings via Zoom conference calls, and remotely sharing our screens as part of our new routine to try to maintain as much interaction as possible between team members under these circumstances.
How do you deal with the Corona crisis – do your projects continue?
There were some slight delays with the construction progress of certain projects, but we’re fortunate that for the most part, our projects continued to move forward during the lockdown.
What tips can you give colleagues?
The biggest thing that was missing during this period was the social aspect of being in the office together, so checking in with each other daily to make sure everyone still feels like they are a part of something, even if we are not physically together, was important. Early on, we started to host virtual happy hours every couple of weeks so that we could continue to get together and catch-up with colleagues and discuss on-goings outside of our work.
What are your plans for after the quarantine?
China is now slowly returning to normal life, while the rest of the world is going through what we experienced a couple of months ago. As of now, about 70% of our team is back in the office, with another 30% still abroad. The most immediate changes have been the physical working arrangements with the distancing that needs to occur in the office. We’ve separated out the seating so that there are 2 meters between workspaces, and everyone is required to wear masks. Apart from that, the routine is pretty similar to before the lockdown, and we continue to collaborate with our remote colleagues via video conferencing.