The global move to a remote mode of working is nothing short of a sea change. It probably accelerated the shift to a more decentralized office model by three or more years. And yet, in Phinney Bischoff’s case, we found the transition to be a seamless and overwhelmingly positive one.
For 38 years, Phinney Bischoff has been passionate about creative collaboration, and when the move to remote work began, we were very conscious of preserving that culture. Fortunately for us, the technology existed to make it easy for us to do so.
Our weekly office meetings quickly changed to daily Zoom video calls. And our long-standing culture-shares, where a team member shares something they’re passionate about with the rest of us—a particularly brilliant piece of design, art, a travel destination, literature—moved from a monthly rotating basis to twice weekly. The increased frequency of both has been invaluable in maintaining camaraderie and a sense of connection between everyone.
Slack has been another great tool for us. It was a part of our workflow long before the pandemic hit, so there has been no transition to speak of, we’ve just leaned on it harder than before. Quick Slack calls have replaced a lot of impromptu meetings at desks, and there’s an argument to be made that virtual meetings are in fact more efficient. In any case, the difference has felt negligible.
We’ve been fans of Sketch for a long time, and it, too, remains a big part of our remote design process. Paired with InVision and Zeplin, collaborating internally and with clients and developers is effortless.
So, what about the alchemy of in-person brainstorming sessions? Does the online version offer a reasonable facsimile? We think so. With clients, just as we did in person, we make sure to start our meetings off with tone-setting exercises that help establish a certain creative timbre. Zoom and Figma offer great whiteboarding tools, as well, and the digital nature of them—the ease with which they can be saved and distributed after the fact—may just make them preferable to the real thing. At the heart of any good brainstorming session is the search for great ideas, and fortunately, inspiration does not need a physical wheel with which to spin its gold.
In fact, we’ve found that each member of our firm, to a person, has found the impact of remote work on their work-life balance to be profoundly positive. Of course we’ve always loved creating great work for our clients, but the additional time we’re able spend with our immediate families and loved ones has only stoked our passion for what we do, which means that inspiration and great collaboration comes just that more easily.
We look forward to collaborating with you in the near future.