Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 37

"Before the help is actually needed, take steps such as: interview potential contract
workers; investigate outsourcing of production work; or consider sub-contracting
work to another small firm in an area of the US where work is slower."

The principal likes his work and
is stimulated by the pressure and
variety, but feels vaguely like he is on
a treadmill, never advancing, perhaps
falling a little more behind each day. In
addition, he's just tired, and wonders
how long he can go on this way.
Sound familiar? Many principals
in small firms will describe their
work life in this way. The work
is unrelenting, changeable, and
demanding. Given this unpredictable
environment, how can firm leaders
effectively manage their own time
and the time of their staff?
The following are practical
suggestions for improving time
management:
Minimize unexpected interruptions:
Institute a firm wide "quiet time" -
two to four hours each day when the
professional staff does not answer
the phone, respond to email, or
interrupt one another. Occasionally
there will be a critical call expected,
and there will be other exceptions to
the rule. However, most of the time
calls can be handled by a voice mail
system and emails responses can
wait an hour or two. Quiet time will
allow concentration and creativity
without the usual distractions.
After an interruption it takes most
people two to five minutes to get
back to where they were before
the interruption. For many firms,
and firm leaders, the practice of
quiet time can add considerably
to billable hours in a given week.
To make quiet effective for firm
leaders, it must be coupled with
"daily rounds" in which the principal
touches base with each project

manager/ architect/ designer. If staff
is assured that routine contact with
the principal will happen, there will
be fewer unexpected interruptions.
Question unconditional availability
to clients: Architects are rarely
"emergency architects on-call",
yet many act as if unconditional
availability to clients is required.
Saying "how high" when a client
says jump may be sending the
wrong message. Establish respect
and assert equality by setting
boundaries on availability. Take a
breath and pause, before making
verbal commitments about schedules
to a client. It's okay to say, "I need to
check my schedule and get back to
you," or "My lead time right now is
about three weeks (months) before
I can begin a new project. Can I put
you on the schedule?" Consider the
match between the workload of the
firm and the schedule of the client
before accepting a project. Though
hard to do, saying "no" can be an
effective time management strategy.
It can also be empowering if you say
no strategically, not taking outlier
projects or troublesome clients.
Expect client driven delays and
deadlines: Workload fluctuation is
a problem that all small firms deal
with. Often the change is sudden,
with the surprising cancellation of one
project or the unexpected start-up of
another. This situation often results
in overwork or under-work of the
existing staff. Firms can prepare for
this likelihood by building flexibility
into their workforce.
For an unanticipated surge in
workload, firm leaders should prepare

for the possibility of needing to
hire temporary workers. Before the
help is actually needed, take steps
such as: interview potential contract
workers; investigate outsourcing of
production work; or consider subcontracting work to another small
firm in an area of the US where work
is slower. These kinds of advance
actions will build the staffing
flexibility needed by a small firm.
Firm leaders would be also be wise
to think about what will happen if
work slows down. The memory of
the Great Recession looms and it
is important to heed its lessons. In
the big picture, firm leaders must
position their firm in their marketplace
to be able to weather a downturn. In
terms of keeping valuable employees,
strategies such as voluntary leave,
temporary furlough, and 4-day
workweek may be useful at times.
Examine principal's tendency to
micro-manage: Some principals
have a hard time letting other people
do the work that needs to be done.
They are constantly looking over
the shoulders of their staff, always
meddling. Or worse, they make late
in the process changes that drive
deadline generated crisis. They seem
not to really trust the intelligent and
hard-working people they have hired
and a culture of disempowerment
often evolves. The most obvious
symptom of this is a harried,
overworked principal, who always
stays late and works weekends.
Principals need to be very strategic
about what work they do themselves
and what they delegate. Principals
should only do the work that only
they can do. All other work should be

Summer 2017 | Licensed Architect | 37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Licensed Architect - Summer 2017

President’s Message
ADA Advice Accessibility: Handrail Details for Stairways and Ramps
Continuing Education A Review of Window, Door and Skylight Standards and Certification
Buyer’s Guide
Feature Article The Necessary Accessory: Hardware
Continuing Education Providers/ ALA New Members
Insurance Design Professionals and Cyber Risk - Part 2
Second Chances for Buildings The New Roof is Still Leaking?
Feature Article What Do Clients Want? Amenities, style and function
Firm Management Tools for Small Firms: Time Management
Index of Advertisers
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Intro
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - cover1
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - cover2
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 3
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 4
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 5
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - President’s Message
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 7
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - ADA Advice Accessibility: Handrail Details for Stairways and Ramps
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 9
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 10
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 11
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 12
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 13
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 14
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 15
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Continuing Education A Review of Window, Door and Skylight Standards and Certification
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 17
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 18
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 19
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 20
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Buyer’s Guide
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 22
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 23
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 24
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Feature Article The Necessary Accessory: Hardware
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Continuing Education Providers/ ALA New Members
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Insurance Design Professionals and Cyber Risk - Part 2
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 28
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 29
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Second Chances for Buildings The New Roof is Still Leaking?
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 31
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 32
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Feature Article What Do Clients Want? Amenities, style and function
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 34
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 35
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Firm Management Tools for Small Firms: Time Management
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - 37
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - cover3
Licensed Architect - Summer 2017 - cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ALATQ/ALATQ0415
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com