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Our Work Culture & Managing Your Project

The process of designing your architectural home is a long one!  You will likely be with us for 9-18 months.  In this age of technology and distraction, we have found that constant interruption directly impacts on the focussed, problem solving work that architecture demands. To combat this and reduce distraction, we’ve made a framework for our studio (to help us) and for your project (to help you).  The information in this article is to help you to understand how we work, the reasons why and to give you some clarity on the process of working with us.

What are our work hours?

We work 9-5 for a nine day fortnight, with the whole team taking the same Friday off per fortnight.

Why a 9 day fortnight?

Because we got really tired!  The construction industry is busy and demanding, and it is really hard to put our pens down at the end of the day.  This started to mean, unpaid overtime was becoming ‘normal’.  

Having a nine day fortnight forces us to be productive, efficient and hard working in the time that we are at work.  But to also value our downtime.  Creativity can’t be forced into 9-5, so its important to have time to think, refresh ourselves and let a project brew in our subconscious.  There is some fantastic research on the benefits of ‘scatter focus’ – allowing our brain to solve problems by not focussing on the problem.  You’d be amazed how many of our projects are solved while sorting the washing!  Check out some great stuff on that HERE, HERE & great TED talk HERE (from 8 minutes onwards)!

If you’re interested in reading more about our studio culture, you can read about our mission to build a culture of kindness HERE.

Managing a Remote Team:

On the first Monday of each 9 day fortnight, the whole team is together for lunch (preferably Mexican & beers!) and a planning meeting.  In this meeting, every project is discussed so that everyone (even those not directly on your project) are aware of what is happening.  We also cover anything we’ve learned or need to address in this meeting to ensure each project gets the benefit of that knowledge sharing.

Wednesday each week (as a minimum) is a full team day which allows us to have the benefits of face to face collaboration on our projects.  Our secret sauce is the way all of our team input into every project, so it’s important that we provide a space for ideas to be sharpened by one another’s input.

BUT!  Don’t be bothered if you come in and only see two of us in the studio.  Post COVID this has become pretty normal and we are really proud of the way our studio has been able to support a friendlier work from home lifestyle.

When we offer meetings:

We are available to you on email and on phone in the 9 days of work.  However, we meet with our clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

This is because we are a partially remote working studio with team members spread from the Sunshine to Gold Coasts.  In order to manage this, Mondays and Fridays are meeting free days -allowing us to get some uninterrupted design time.  This also gives us some time as a team to talk, think & collaborate on your project so that we can push ourselves to deliver the best possible outcomes.

We do out of hours meetings in the very rare circumstance that no common time can be found in business hours.  This is preferable via zoom and we can’t promise you won’t see our laundry or kids in the background!

Booking Meetings:

We offer face to face meetings and zoom meetings and use a booking system called Calendly to make this process as streamlined as possible for you.

We are able to book to your meetings up to 8 weeks in advance so you have plenty of time to schedule work off.  Your program will set out the goal dates for our meetings and before we commence each new stage, we will set these up with you.

Meeting Lengths

Our meetings aren’t short!  To allow you to schedule the right amount of time, we’ve got a summary of the minimum number & length your project will require:

  • Kick Off Workshop – 2-3 hours (face to face)
  • Concept Presentation – 2 hours x 2 (face to face)
  • Feedback Sessions – 1-2 hours (zoom)
  • Detailed Design – 2-3 hours x 3 (face to face – sorry these are long ones!)
  • Construction Drawings – 1-2 hours (zoom or face to face)

Any other meetings can usually be dealt with within 1 hour and often suit zoom rather than in person.

Does Zoom work for architecture?

You betcha!  Our clients love this because we screen share their model or plans, can quickly find examples to show ideas already executed and it takes up less of their own precious time!  One of our projects was done completely on Zoom from the first presentation right up to Building Approval while our client’s lived and worked in Scotland, so we know it can work well!  If you’d like to hear about that – check out our Castle House in our projects.

Email:

We love email.  It is a great way to keep track of the many many threads of communication a project creates.  Every project gets its unique inbox which we request that you cc in every time you email us.  This means nothing is ever lost!

You’re welcome to email outside of work hours, but don’t expect a response!  We triage our emails – critical ones will be dealt with immediately, and anything that isn’t time critical, will be responded to within the week.

We also turn our emails off for a period of time each day to create some space in our day for focussed work.

Mobile phones:

You will have the mobile phone number for Bec & the architect heading up your project – Kate or Andy.  You are welcome to call or text us, however, for longer conversations, we recommend you make a time for a zoom chat.  Your project program has a link you can use to book in a zoom call when it suits you.

In order to create space in our day for some distraction free work, we will have periods of time each day that our phones are on ‘do not disturb’.  Please leave or send a message and we will get back to you as soon as we’ve switched gears. 

Some clients enjoy communicating as a group via WhatsApp.  We’re totally OK with this.  But again, if you have a lot of information to pass on and its crucial we interpret it correctly, nothing beats a well written email!

Video communication:

We use a platform called Loom to pre-record presentations – we often use this to communicate small problem solving or options.  This allows you to distill the information in your own time and grasp the pro’s and con’s of the decision.  Our clients LOVE this tool because they can discuss in their own time without feeling the pressure of responding ‘on the spot’.

Monthly Status Update:

Every month we will update you either via video (see Loom above) or via email on what we did that month, what is coming up and what we are waiting on.  12 months is long time to stay up to date with what’s going on and between managing your family and your own work, your project can start to feel like a BIG mental load!  These small summaries help you to stay on top and reduce the mental load and they hold us accountable to you to deliver what we’ve said we will!

Invoicing

We send our invoices on the last Monday of every month in the same email as the Monthly Status Update so that you can clearly see what we’ve done, and what we’re invoicing for.  We invoice  a percentage of work complete every month.  The status update ensures you know what you’re paying for and we don’t invoice for more than 80% of any stage unless we know you’re happy to move forward.

If you have any questions or thoughts on this information we would love to hear from you!  Get in touch at hello@maytreestudios.com.au

Get in touch

We are currently not taking new enquiries until mid 2022 for projects with start dates in 2023.

To be on our waitlist, take advantage of our free 15-minute phone call

Find our Brisbane Architects
Shop 3, 475 Sandgate Rd
Albion QLD 4010
(parking at rear, off Highlands St)