Kim M Degenkolb + Aisha M Hassan | Sept 4, 2020

To say that this year has forced us to reexamine our habits would be an understatement. That said, both in our personal lives as well as in work, it has helped us develop new routines to cope with the times, and in some cases bring renewed focus to more mindful living. After our office started remote work in March, we set up a number of new team rituals to keep everyone motivated and create a reinforced sense of community. As society in Canada begins increasing activity again, our office has taken action to prepare for what seems to be the new normal.

For starters, all of our staff meet for a coffee break every morning over Zoom. This is something new that we have incorporated into our daily routine only after starting to work remotely. It gives the team time to discuss daily happenings, and offers space for individuals to share topics and work that has sparked our interest. We follow up with a brief overview of everyone’s key tasks for the day which helps everyone align on their priorities.

On Fridays, our usul coffee break time is usually reserved for our communal tapping exercise inspired by Donna Eden. Taught to us by one of our staff who discovered tapping at a self development course in Guelph called, these simple tapping exercises awaken different nodes along key meridians and chakras in the body. We would all probably agree that this routine helps us with feeling energized, healthy, happy and contributes to a flowing office dynamic. The tapping exercises were developed by a world famous healer by the name of Donna Eden The tapping is highly recommended for architects who tend to sit in front of the computer for too many hours a day, and is overall a great way for anyone to start their day.

Recently, after following government guidelines, a few of our employees have returned to the office which allows us to have physical (social distanced) coffee breaks outside on our sunny terrace – butter tarts and coffee included! This is certainly a new tradition that we plan to continue going forward.

After catching up with everyone and filling up our sun tanks, we return to our desks. As part of our return-to-work plan, the desks had sneeze guards installed to make for safer collaborative exchange. In meetings and other communal activities that require closer proximity, we are sure to wear our masks.

Figuring out how to create this new normal has been a challenge, as well as an ongoing learning process. Despite the initial bumps in the road, in some ways this global pandemic has shifted our perspectives for the better and brought us closer together through new traditions. As we continue to move into the future, our main priority will be to continue to adhere to local guidelines and keep each other safe while producing quality work for our clients.

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