It goes without saying that these are anything but certain times. With all of us penned indoors and adjusting to an entirely new way of both home and work life, individuals across the globe are adopting coping mechanisms and intuitive ways to keep everything ticking along in preparation for when we come out of this the other end. And, here presents an opportunity; this can be period of reflection, reassessment and re-evaluation of what it is we do, and what it is we create in this extraordinary market place.
In these unprecedented times, it is both comforting and reassuring to know that many of us in the superyacht industry are finding new solutions to overcome the plight of COVID-19; and make do with work outside of the typical working environment. It was Kate Hadjidimos, who initially brought this positive outlook to my attention when she explained that this is a time to really take a step back and focus on how we can all be better, and be creative in our approach to business. “This is can be a positive time regarding output,” she explains. “While we have ongoing projects that we are continuing with, this is a time where we can focus on new concept work, and an opportunity to really assess how we were doing things and what we can do to improve it.”
During this time, many have been forced into retraining their online presence; an absolute must now for staying connected, not just to the market, but to colleagues as well. As I’m sure many have experienced at varying levels of success, video conferencing is now something to be grateful for; and studios such as Winch Design, have rather spectacularly demonstrated through a companywide meeting, all done through the Zoom meetings app.
Studio-wide online meeting at Winch Design
It was through this medium that I spoke to superyacht designer Wayne Parker this morning about life as a designer in the current situation. “You still have to continue reaching out to people, and promoting yourself,” he says. “I think it will change the industry to a certain degree and how we actually do things. What we are doing now [video conferencing], there will be more of it.
I think it will change the industry to a certain degree and how we actually do things. What we are doing now [Zoom video conferencing], there will be more of it.
- Wayne Parker
“When it comes to new build, there are still projects going on,” continues Parker. “And, my refit project is still going on at the moment. I think with the technology that we have, you can work from home and I think agile working will become increasingly more common in the way that you run a studio, having that flexible capacity, is a good thing. The downside is of course, that you don’t have that one to one, however, you can of course use the tools via screenshare.”
While many of you, like myself, may well have realised that your partner speaks slightly too loudly on the phone, or taken to pacing the room while on work calls; remote working seems to be a method which some designers are taking in their stride, and seeing the positive effects and even act as a catalyst for creativity.
“Once I had set up my office from home and established a bit of routine – going for a walk to start the day, tiding your desk at the end of the day and having set times to look through emails – I have found that you can use this method of working to give some added creativity,” says Jack Canning, head of interiors at RWD. “Meetings have become more efficient in some ways as we all are sat at our computers sharing screens and drawing in updates live as we discuss them, so we are working in the moment.
"Forced isolation gives you a chance to be in the moment more often, focus on what you are doing & take time away from the computer to sketch, think and design without distractions of the outside world”
- Jack Canning, RWD
“Personally I have found it quite beneficial to play my own music (loud at times) without trying to play something for everyone, I am taking a proper break for lunch, cooking with fresh ingredients as opposed to nipping to the café for a sandwich to be eaten at my desk,” Canning continues. “With the amazing weather we are currently having I am eating outside, going for walks along the sea wall in the evenings, practicing yoga & enjoying being in my own space. Forced isolation gives you a chance to be in the moment more often, focus on what you are doing & take time away from the computer to sketch, think and design without distractions of the outside world”
So, while this is a terribly difficult time for all – particularly in an industry that is predominantly comprised of small businesses – the next few months will be a bumpy ride, but be sure to stay on board with a fresh and renewed outlook. But, the answer for many is positivity; re-obsessing ourselves with the industry and taking a step back and re-evaluating how we go about our business.
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