We were wrapping up the second round of interviews for a new position at R-Hauz just as COVID-19 started to become a daily topic of conversation around the office.
It is early March, and the interview candidate is being taken through the office and introduced to the small team here at R-Hauz. When she gets to my desk, I’m unsure what to do. As someone who was taught the importance of a handshake at business school, I can’t decide if it is still socially acceptable or if a friendly wave would be construed as unprofessional. I go for the handshake and sanitize my hands afterward.
Fast forward two weeks and our team has transitioned to remote work as of Friday, March 13th. During that time, we had also put together an offer letter for the position of Architectural Technologist and signed on our newest team member, Daniela Carter.
As COVID-19 takes shape in our community we see the impact this pandemic is having on other small businesses. Each day things seem to escalate; closures, government protocols, and case counts. The uncertainty of what 2020 will look like has never been greater.
However, at R-Hauz we find ourselves in a somewhat fortunate position. We are anticipating that business will slow, but unlike many other small businesses, we do not have to close our doors entirely. Our team is able to embrace the new normal working from home.
This leads to a conversation with the co-founders; we have a signed contract for a new hire to start April 6th, what should we do? It didn’t take much to decide that the right thing to do was to honour that contract and have our new Architectural Technologist start work remotely.
Lucky for us this position is well suited to independent work, and even remote work when needed. The focus of this role is to leverage BIM (building information modeling) to produce architectural working drawings for wood residential buildings in Revit. At R-Hauz we want to empower property owners to self-solve the housing needs of their families and their communities through our products. We deliver this through a design centred in BIM that is repeatable and faster using concepts of Mass Customization, Manufacturing and Assembly.
As the Operations Manager, the question is - how do you onboard someone when every day seems to hold something unexpected? Business is not as usual! Lucky for us technology today can support both remote work and even remote on-boarding.
So, we order her laptop online and have it shipped directly to her home address. We create an on-boarding plan with various team members doing Zoom learning sessions. Most importantly we keep our new hire in the loop! Starting a new job is daunting at the best of times, but in times as uncertain as these I can’t imagine what is going through her head.
While many parts of our business have come to a halt, we believe increased collaboration - even if virtual- can strengthen our team, and that innovation is always possible. We are taking this time to learn, reflect and educate our readers on what we do, and how we do it.
With so many stories of small businesses struggling and going through layoffs, we are thankful to be part of a team fortunate enough to welcome a new team member during the COVID-19 pandemic.