17 April 2020 Who will YOU be after the corona virus, according to Darwin?
Nothing of what we are experiencing in this chaos is new to human beings. This has already happened in our history, but it did not happen in MINE and in yours. That is why it has become so resounding, so scary! WE, THE HUMAN BEINGS OF NOW, are experiencing this challenge.
Dealing urgently with what we are going through in our personal and professional lives at this moment is difficult, and we need immediate actions to defend ourselves now. And those who continue to believe that there is a great distance between these two sides of ourselves, the personal and the professional ones, are mistaken. They are more and more connected and influencing one another. Everyone wants to get to know these two sides to create their complete perception.
Proof of this is on social media. When they started it was all segregated, the personal page and the professional page. Of course, there is still a need to tone down the expostion, especially regarding privacy and security. But people like it and seek identification with more human aspects of daily life, they seek social proof that the person/professional actually lives by what he or she says.
But after this moment of despair, we need to think about TOMORROW, personally and professionally. WHO WILL YOU BE? Because something so serious, on a global scale, will transform markets, people, professions. If you do not believe that, if you are just thinking about “when will the quarantine end and I will be able to return to normal”… I ask you to understand. The “old normal will no longer exist”….
Take a look at some points which have changed and will not come back:
1) Personal Life
Personal relationships have acquired great importance: being physically with the one you love is of great value. We voluntarily move away, we do not mind, in the fast-paced life, being away from those we love for a long time.
But when an external agent forces us to do so, it hurts us deeply. Then, people, who are currently confined to their private spaces, will start looking for more time in places of interaction. Do you know the saying: “we only value something when we lose it”?
Well, we are experiencing an obligatory social segregation, and we will eagerly return to sharing social moments. So, what will these spaces and people’s new expectations for these relationships be like?
2) Professional Life
Professional relationships were taken to another level. While many still insisted on maintaining their activities to an only in-site service, with limiting beliefs regarding changes, the pandemic forced services to align themselves with technological developments.
How to return to spending so much time on unnecessary commuting, if we can resolve so many things in remote meetings and contacts? Is it really feasible and necessary to have high-cost sites to have a professional image of respect?
When I graduated (2000), it was “unprofessional” to work from home. It gave the impression that you were not a successful professional. Customers had this perception and professionals ended up investing a lot in office spaces, which in reality had no real cost-benefit.
Nowadays, you are at home, communicating with family, your team, partner and customers from a distance. Everyone adapted. Everyone is in improvised home-offices, with remote contacts, on several possible platforms, naturally. Does it matter if you are next door or in another country? The world has never been so small and accessible. Can we really care only for those who are physically close? Or is it that YOU, because you are still in that reality, have this belief, that it is so for EVERYONE?
Well, after all these questions, I want to tell you, that what has happened was not a surprise to me, unfortunately. Sustainability was the area I chose to invest my professional life in. Therefore, it was 10 years of office, in a traditional model, just a project, and another 10 years immersed in a business built, planned, within a personal and professional purpose.
When we talk about sustainability, everyone still seems to believe that it is a distant dream, that it has nothing to do with our reality, with the type of project we do, or that it is the focus of “nature-loving”, “green” people. LOL. Many still believe they are aspects for large buildings, which need to invest millions. In fact, “eco-boring things”!!
Well, that was never true, but for the market, it was easier to “believe in it” than having to invest in long-term changes. For me, it was no surprise what we are experiencing, because science, research in all areas have been pointing out the global collapse for decades. Health was only the trigger.
Everything I have researched as a student for my master’s and doctor’s degrees already demonstrated these many impacts on health, on the traditional economy, on water supply, lack of energy, hunger, and environmental bankruptcy. What I always saw was that everyone believed in it, but for a distant future. However, the future has arrived. This is the curve of change.
I am not saying this in a pessimistic way, quite the contrary. We can continue ourselves, and not improve as a person and as a professional, or we can evolve.
As Darwin stated, evolution and natural selection happen gradually. And it is the challenges, the necessary changes to live that separate those who are extinct from those who will be better, stronger, and the leaders.
I lived the moment when we left the drawing by hand for the computer. I always heard, from almost everyone: “The architect will never stop doing the project by hand. It’s just a trend in the market… ”
Yeah, but I did not think so. If in college they did not have a subject or a computer, I went after a market professional who gave me private AutoCad classes. And today we are already at BIM, in virtual reality. That is why I always say: there is no going back.
When I was inserted in this world of sustainability, I experienced people, colleagues and customers not giving it value, because they did not understand what it was. Far from being a philosophy or dream, sustainability has serious economic, pragmatic, and measurable aspects. That is how I always convinced my clients: for the pocket, for the clarity of the results achieved by investing in a better building.
And from that line of thought, Quali-A was born, our company focused on consultancies, projects and training. Why three areas? Because looking at the market, we realized that we could offer different solutions with our knowledge, to different customers. We do a lot of consulting for construction companies and public agencies, projects for individuals and training for professionals. In other words, we diversified our business. We do not put all the eggs in one basket. We managed to adapt to the market instability.
We started as a Startup company of technology and innovation. Yes, in the middle of a lot of IT professionals, there it was, two (CRAZY) architects struggling to understand business models completely different from the traditional “design office”. We seek to see, mainly, the strategies that other professionals successfully adopt. Always asking ourselves: how can we adapt it for us?
Is it worth just being in the middle of peers? How will I think differently? How will I look to the future with new answers?
We are now resolving the emergency, but looking at who we will be in the post-pandemic future. We will evolve and we will not be extinct. Let us look at those who are moving forward, in transformation, improving.
Be careful with your fear and with the “protection” of those who love us most, because they often do not want us to take risks in this evolution. Of course it is risky, and that is why it is important to plan ahead, to have an action plan. Think about what you want to achieve: how long would it take, can you do it alone (I am sure you cannot), who will your partners be, how much will it cost? All of these questions are necessary for you to assess the feasibility of your goal.
So, if there is something fundamental in this pandemic, it is the clarity of the change. We will prepare to be among the professionals who have evolved and are also able to serve evolved customers, prepared and eager for a new reality.
“Ah, but isn’t it everyone who thinks that way?” Alright, you think from now on! And customers and colleagues who do not think so, should not be with you. In order to be the focus of your new business model.
Do you know what has happened to us? As we are already adapted to the online world, our course area has grown enormously with the pandemic: students and new partners, in search of our know-how.
We have already seen that it is totally feasible for one of the partners to move abroad and not have any impact on our processes.
In other words, we are preparing new goals, new action plans.
And how are you? The fact that you are investing in a postgraduate course of such value, focused on your practice, results, with real examples of successful professionals, cannot be missed. Who will you be after the pandemic?
We will certainly be among the leaders of our market. After all, we are in a different group, which is looking forward, while most are still standing or trying to go back.
Let us live together for the future that is now!
Julia Fernandes holds a doctor’s degree from the University of Brasília in Sustainability, Quality of Natural Lighting and Energy Efficiency; Design Specialist from Estácio de Sá University – RJ. She develops activities in sustainability certifications (AQUA and PBE-Edifica Label), sustainable architecture projects and natural lighting. Specialist in management, marketing, and entrepreneurship at PUCRGS. Partner at Quali-A, a company in the UnB Technology Park. Professor at IPOG in 5 graduate courses for architecture, engineering, and design.