Sebastian Yan, an undergraduate Architecture student in CAMD, is currently on his second co-op as an Architect Assistant at New York City-based Handel Architects. There, he has had the opportunity to work with experienced team members who were eager to welcome and on-board him, and help him navigate a fast-paced, incredibly demanding role. Since moving online, this support and two-way communication has remained strong, and Sebastian is continuing to learn from his colleagues and contribute to projects effectively. Learn more about his experience below.
HOW HAS YOUR CO-OP CHANGED SINCE IT’S MOVED ONLINE?
The three months that I was physically working in the office, I was constantly moved between teams, helping out everyone that has a deadline coming. While it was nice to get to know my colleagues, the work can get rather repetitive. I have been able to stick with one team since the working from home started. Now, not only do I get to work on all different aspect of design, but I’ve gotten to better understand the actual process before a design is finalized.
WHAT DIGITAL TOOLS ARE YOUR CO-OP COMPANY USING TO KEEP EVERYONE PRODUCTIVE AND ON-THE-SAME-PAGE?
The pandemic came so secretly yet violently; however, my company had been informing us about the importance of personal hygiene as well as preparing us for the worst-case scenario right from the beginning. Company-wide technology testing was hosted at the beginning of March, installing software named “Splashtop Business” to grant everyone access to their company’s computer from home, ensuring the high quality of work that we produce will not be affected during this time.
HAS THERE BEEN ANYTHING UNEXPECTED FOR YOU AS YOU TRANSITIONED YOUR ROLE ONLINE?
The biggest fear that I had before started working remotely was the lack of communication that might occur during this time. I can no longer walk directly to my coworker’s desk and surely I have a lot to ask. This fear did not come true. The two daily meetings we have are making the communication between teammates a lot better and smoother, and even the responses you get are faster because we all understand it takes more effort now to make our project better.
DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME, HOW ARE YOU STAYING MOTIVATED AND INSPIRED?
It is rather difficult to not get distracted working remotely, but weirdly I felt like I have been even more productive simply because I’m surrounded by the environment that I’m most comfortable with. I felt like self-discipline and time management have become priority working unsupervised, because I understand that unlike on campus, a simple turning late can have a tremendous impact on others as well as the company itself.