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Lockdown connected our Sydney office

Fulton Trotter Architects Sydney office has been facing a great challenge during the recent increase in covid-19 cases in the state. Restrictions are in place and the whole team is working from home. For those who are used to seeing each other daily and are missing the face-to-face chats, other ways to stay connected needed to be arranged.

Alison Sheil, one of our Associates based in New South Wales, says this challenge helped them discover new ways to stay connected and even improve the social events with the team.

“Whilst not having day-to-day, incidental interactions with the team members in one’s office can be a challenging prospect for some, lockdown doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected, nor prevent new connections forming. 

 This is Sydney’s second extended lockdown (third for anyone on the Northern Beaches) and from my experience I have discovered that connectivity during lockdown has manifested in other ways!

 Whilst there are downsides to living in lockdown, for the way we work, it hasn’t been all bad. For me, quite a few positives have come out of adapting to working from home.

 Prior to the first lockdown, Fulton Trotter Architects had separate staff meetings (for Brisbane and Sydney offices). We now have whole office staff meetings. It has been great to see how, over time, we have improved on the format, as we share news and ideas across the whole team. Our latest staff meeting included an interactive workshop which enabled our offices to become even more connected, which was thoroughly enjoyable.

 I have recently joined Tuesday night Art Class with Greg, Hayley (and others). Until Zoom, the after work Art Classes weren’t an option for me in Sydney (since it is based in Brisbane). It is a refreshing change of pace to sit, draw and chat for a couple of hours learning from the Master!

 Friday drinks are now only a Zoom call away and with everyone in Sydney being in lockdown, at least for now, I can join in. As I don’t normally work Friday’s, I have often lamented not being able to participate in the end of week celebrations. Recently, Kelly from our Brisbane office even joined us with her enviable espresso martini for a quick chat!

 The Sydney office has also started to hold ‘Wellness Wednesdays’.  Each Wednesday morning we have a quick catch up with the whole team and we get given a task or a challenge to complete.  We then meet up at the end of the day to look through what everyone has done and award a winner.  The tasks are designed to get everyone to take a break away from their computers for a little while, go outside, take a walk and think of something else.”

Wellness Wednesday Photography Challenge – Greg Isaac

Architectural Lego Activity – Lauren Watson

“Lockdown doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected, nor prevent new connections forming.”

So, whilst I would love to see everyone in person, and I do miss the incidental encounters, I don’t feel totally disconnected. Though we’ve been forced to learn to work from home, separated physically from our workmates, through technology we have been able to stay connected, collaborate and I believe we’ve even enhanced our connection with our Brisbane, Tweed and Melbourne colleagues.

 There’s always more we can do to stay connected – and I look forward to seeing how our creativity develops over the coming months.”

Although we hope the situation gets better and the restrictions be eased so we can see each other back together, we are happy to see Alison and our team staying positive and using their creative minds to stay connected.