Which Business Housekeeping Jobs Are Helping You Stay Productive?
See how different renovation professionals are using this time to get organised and fine-tune their businesses
Contributing professionals: Eamonn Agha of Huntsmore; Claudia Dorsch of Claudia Dorsch Interior Design; Victoria Philpott of Victoria Philpott Gardens; Jim Rooney of E2 Architecture + Interiors; Cat Hoad of Absolute Project Management; Sophia Andreski of Sophia’s Gardens; Andrea Jenkins of Andrea Jenkins Interior Design.
Communicating with clients or potential clients for marketing purposes is one of those essential jobs firms often struggle to fit in. We all know it’s important, but looking after existing projects can eat up everyone’s time, so this could be a good opportunity to catch up.
“We’re fortunate that we have several building sites still running, albeit with reduced workers and trades to observe current safety guidelines,” Huntsmore’s Eamonn Agha says. “That said, new enquiries have reduced, so we’re trying to take advantage of the extra office time by updating a lot of our marketing information.
“We’ve been reviewing our Houzz profile and have begun updating this with new projects, making sure the content is fresh and relevant,” he says.
“We’ve also begun writing informative journal/blog posts,” he continues. “These will provide useful tips and pointers on current design trends, but also cover practical construction and building information that customers and professionals should be aware of on site.”
“We’re also taking the opportunity to get our Houzz and social media profiles as complete and up-to-date as possible,” she says, “and preparing a targeted marketing plan for our new Brighton office.”
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A period of less intense office activity can be a good opportunity for taking a step back, seeing your business objectively and planning for the future.
“I worked on finishing my new website and that took up the first 10 days of isolation,” interior designer Claudia Dorsch says. “I have a very long to-do list and have made myself a Mind Map with everything I’d like to do during this period. I think business will re-open before I get through my list!”
For many clients, there are no more excuses for putting off decluttering the cupboards. The same goes for business affairs.
Garden designer Victoria Philpott says, “As I can’t be out in gardens as much as I normally would be at this time of year, I’ve been getting around to things inside in my home office. I’ve finally organised all of my garden product samples, such as porcelain and stone paving, and sorted through my industry magazines to make sure I can reference articles more efficiently.”
Interior designer Andrea Jenkins says, “I’m pressing the reset button and streamlining my business, decluttering and filing my suppliers’ library, samples and fabrics. When things get up and running, I’ll be ready for the next chapter.”
A lot of companies that weren’t already offering the option of video consultations have found the technology is suddenly invaluable for keeping the early stages of projects moving, as well as drawing in new clients.
Architect Jim Rooney says his firm has begun offering online consultations, virtual site visits and virtual design workshops. There’s also a dedicated new landing page on the website giving clients updated information about how the company is currently operating.
“These are a symptom of the times,” Jim says, “but far from allowing Covid-19 to prevent progress, now we’re all resigned to lockdown, we’re embracing innovative ways of working and collaborating. It will be so important to hit the ground running once we come through the other side of this.”
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“We are undertaking team training on the design and project management process and business efficiency with an amazing external business consultant called Rachel Smart,” Cat says.
“I’ve had extra time to practise and perfect my CAD and Photoshop skills, so I can present my concepts in a more detailed and visually stimulating way,” Victoria says. “These are all things I’ve either put off or haven’t had time for previously, so it’s been great to have a chance to catch up and get myself organised, so I can be more productive this year.”
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Jim says he and the team plan to update all the templates they use to put together specifications. This is just one of the many internal or office management jobs to which some companies are finding they can devote time.
Cat is on a similar mission. “We’re writing and updating our internal ‘how to’ guides and updating internal protocols for various specific design areas,” she says. “For example, we’ve focused on making bathroom design and execution as efficient as possible, having noted a recurring issue between suppliers and contractors. We can’t control them, but we can ensure our designs are as precise and detailed as possible, ‘designing out’ any room for some of the common problems to occur.”
What’s your company up to right now to stay productive? Share your insights in the Comments.