We’ve adopted a number of industry-leading tools that will help us get the job done, and ensure our clients meet their deadlines.

It's (almost) business as usual for DIALOG

The world and the workplace have changed a lot since mid-March. In order to meet those challenges, we've rolled out and embraced an industry-leading suite of communications platforms and tools to support the 600 DIALOGers who are working remotely these days.

The great news is that DIALOGers are proving to be as productive in a remote work environment as they were in our studios thanks to these tools. As a result, we'll continue using them going forward - and our technology team will add more to our toolkit as needed.

The tools

- All of our staff are connecting remotely to our secure network through a combination of VPN-enabled laptops and Citrix connections to on-premise servers. The fact that all of our staff were already on laptops when the pandemic hit was a huge advantage when it came time to start working remotely. 

- We transitioned to Microsoft Office 365 to allow everyone to collaborate in real time via Microsoft Teams, and securely share files via OneDrive.

- We’ve been using Zoom since 2018, so we're well versed in making the most of the platform. We also have the video conferencing functionality within Microsoft Teams as a back-up.

- We’ve made a significant investment in our in-house Revit server and are leveraging Autodesk’s cloud-based BIM360 to ensure our teams can have seamless remote access to projects.

- We use Bluebeam Studio to host large PDF documents like project drawings or specifications in the cloud. This allows entire teams to review and comment on the document in real time.

- Our Mattterport 360 cameras allow a project team to get the experience of walking through a site while they're actually on a video call, thereby maintaining physical distancing.

- Miro virtual collaboration software serves as a digital sketch pad that allows anyone to mark up plans or drawings in real time. 

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Conducting engagement sessions, remotely

Public and client engagement sessions are a key part of our discovery process on a whole range of projects, and we can't stop engaging with people just because of COVID-19. Fortunately, we already had some experience conducting remote engagement exercises when physical distancing requirements came into place. We've also added more tools recently to help make sure we're hearing what people have to say.

That list now included interactive surveys, live streamed presentations, Q & As on Facebook and Zoom, and expanded use of our existing social media channels (Instagram and Twitter, in particular). These have become our go-to platforms over the past few months.

We've discovered a number of benefits to these types of engagement exercises, so we'll continue to use them on a regular basis even as social distancing requirements are relaxed. We'll also explore other innovative ways to promote dialogue - for example, our Planning group recently had a lot of success using Miro for an engagement exercise. 

 

Going forward...

This pandemic is both unprecedented and rapidly evolving. We will continue to respond and act accordingly to keep our employees, partners, and clients safe - and to keep our work moving forward.

Open and honest communication between our team and everyone we work with will remain essential. To that end, we're committing to delivering the level of service people have come to expect from DIALOG, and working together in the most effective and productive way possible to meet these challenges head on. 

Stay tuned to our social channels for updates and news on other tools that help us all work through COVID-19.