Slower pace at the office. How can I help more!

Alex Jalz

I graduated with my masters in architecture in the summer of this year. I was able to secure a job in January with a firm I had worked  with the previous summer. Unlike many of my classmate I was very lucky to have secure my job prior to covid. 

I started  working right after graduating and I’ve enjoyed my time at the firm so far. But... I can help but notice that things are a bit slow. Prior to going back to work I asked my employer if the job was still on the table considering the covid situation and they assure me the firm was doing well and they wanted me  to be in the team. On my first day then again I was reassured that the firm was doing very well. but now after a few months have seems slow. 

I’ve been helping with marketing materials and things of that nature, but what else could I be doing at this time to ensure I am being as useful to the firm as possible? In this economy I would love to maintain my job and I want to be as productive as possible. To keep myself entertained and of course to be of use to the firm! 


Oct 5, 20 1:14 am

Have you asked your supervisor the above question?   If you are wondering why you haven't been laid off, it sounds like they want to keep you around so that they have staff in place and quickly available when work picks up.  Appreciate what you have.  Many firms out there withdrew people's job offers and cut staff this year.

Oct 5, 20 8:28 am  · 
4  · 
atelier nobody

Also, frankly, you're cheaper to keep on the books during a down time than more senior staff.

3  · 

At a large firm we have usually detailed out things to do for tasks when things get slow. You can always look at company standards for modeling, drawing, detailing, etc. and streamline and document the process. Look into new software to get the firm into to keep up with the ever evolving times. Try to get metrics in for performance for old projects that have not been documented. Update project graphics, renderings, etc. I suppose it depends on what type of office you work at. Maybe implement a new studio wide project review for others to critique or grow upon any existing project review styles. Hang in there - it seems like you're the type of employee they should want to keep around!

Oct 5, 20 10:57 am  · 
3  · 

First ask.

Then find whatever you can.  Does you company print drawings in house?  Cut and fold binder strips.  Offer to scan existing building drawings that aren't already on the server. Dead filing. Quality control (even basic proof reading) on outgoing documents.  

Mostly, just ask. 

Oct 5, 20 11:11 am  · 
3  · 

Ask, ask, ask, then, if nobody responds, stop worrying about it.

Oct 5, 20 11:47 am  · 
3  · 

even busy firms have slow days where you are waiting for approval from; Client, authority, developer, bank to move to next step.  always good to have side projects that can be worked on while waiting ie;

Ie. web site, specification sheets, office portfolio, promotional literature ( this should always be ongoing ) eves cold calls

Oct 5, 20 2:09 pm  · 
2  · 

"Hurry up and wait" comes to mind, meaning the busy periods can come in waves that are offset by the slower periods whistler is describing above.

Some ideas:

  •  Spend some time exploring the firm's past work if you have access to the project files and become familiar with how the firm has already tackled the same problems you'll eventually come across
  •  Materials/systems research: reaching out to venders, scheduling lunch and learns, sourcing finishes
  • Quality control practice (as someone else had mentioned), ie checking drawings against a checklist of firm standards

It's GREAT you want to take initiative! And I actually think that bringing an idea to the table is much better than asking for something to do. Just show/share whatever you are doing with your team/boss to give them a chance to help develop it or steer you in another direction.

Oct 5, 20 4:56 pm  · 
4  · 

"Spend some time exploring the firm's past work if you have access to the project files and become familiar with how the firm has already tackled the same problems you'll eventually come across" 

That's a great idea for them, one way to become familiar with a studios process, including drawing standards, communications and everything else is to review previous projects.

Use this time to become confident in your ability to work to your employers processes.

Alex Jalz

thank you all for you feedback! I’m still working there and while things have picked up I do find myself having down time some weeks. At least I still have a job. Definitely grateful for that!

Jan 28, 21 2:25 pm  · 
1  · 

It must not have been that slow, since you couldn’t find the time to revisit this page ;-)

3  · 

Cleaning :) dusting models, going through samples, organizing library, updating block libraries etc etc. No one has time for this when its busy.

Jan 29, 21 9:22 am  · 
1  · 

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