Lockdown – a day in the life

A day in the life at Carless + Adams

Our Junior Technician, George Morris has given us a great insight into what working for Carless+Adams during lockdown looks like, how we collaborate and what makes us tick…

What was once an 8am start to the working day after a long commute into the office, has now become the time of day I hop out of bed and turn on the computer in the spare bedroom. Like many these days, the ‘office’ has become whatever spot in the house I could fit a desk into!

Despite the speed at which lockdown developed and the haste of finding alternative ways of working, the transition to the new working ‘normal’ felt fairly smooth. With my computer set up and a fresh cup of coffee, it feels like I never left the office.

Being a Junior Technician often means that days are spent on a large range of projects, working on various elements at various design stages. This broad spectrum of work includes anything from pre-planning renders, to technical detailing, working on projects as they progress from initial conception through to completion. Today’s focus is a project that is currently on site and under construction. I’m working on room layouts, ensuring all consultants information is brought together into one drawing, giving locations of furniture, heating and electrical points. A large part of producing room layouts is making sure they will work for the end users, be that the residents or the care staff. This would have been mostly developed during the initial design, but it is often important to think about the smaller elements too. A carefully considered socket position or light fixture can be the difference when making a space easy and enjoyable to use. 

The one thing that really distinguishes my spare room from the office, is that my colleagues aren’t a chair swivel away from me. The office is always busy with work chatter and discussions about projects, sharing ideas and getting advice from others. As a Junior Technician, there are always questions to be asked, and not having the face to face contact with everyone meant finding new ways to get answers Therefore my morning is punctuated with the occasional Teams call, checking in with colleagues, talking through projects, and having those chats virtually. What was once a way to organise a big project meeting, has become the new way of walking over to someone’s desk. These calls have extended to clients also, and have proved to be a more efficient and effective tool in collaborating on projects, sharing work and discussing drawings.

After a busy morning it’s time for lunch, and with no Greggs over the road now, it’s a healthy one! With home now being the office too, it’s a good opportunity to get out the house and go for a walk. Exercise has become even more important to me since lockdown, even if it’s just for the fresh air. Work-life balance has always been a key part of working at Carless + Adams, but it is also close to the considerations we have when designing. Understanding that we are creating places that need to be enjoyed out of choice, not just necessity, is fundamental to everything we do.   

Back upstairs to the computer and it’s time for the company’s weekly wave, a chance to see everyone together again, even if it is virtually. This starts with business updates, which are important under the currently fast evolving circumstances, but ends as it often does with the kind of office chat we all miss, and mostly with the homely background noise of kids and dogs. It’s always nice to get out of the isolated work bubble and hear from the guys.

The afternoon sees my focus shift to feasibility renders. One of our Architects has produced a conceptual model that needs to be turned into finished images to be sent to the client. Using a piece of rendering software called Enscape I turn the model into realistic representations of the Architects vision, giving a greater understanding of how the building will look in context. This involves tweaking brick colours, changing the style of roof tiles, adding in people and positioning trees. As designers it’s often easy to imagine the building and how it will look, but being able to convey those ideas to a client is key, certainly in the early stages of a project.

The rest of the day is spent like any other, checking last minute emails, sending out drawings and filling out the time sheet, before powering down the computer and straight into some fun (and socially distanced) time out of the house and away from the screen.

With things as they are, office life doesn’t look too far away. These last few months have led to new ways of working that are sure to become a feature of our future working lives, improving on the pre-lockdown norms and developing the way the business runs. It’ll be great to be back with colleagues again and return to some normality, just wish that didn’t mean 6am alarms again!