The Virtual Office – Design Revolution Is “Going Green”

The Virtual Office – Design Revolution Is “Going Green”

The Virtual Office

According to the most current U.S. Census Report, 77% of Americans still commute to work via automobile averaging 100+ hours per year. Angelenos average 29 minutes each way…that’s 1 hour per day! The solution isn’t that we should be using more public transportation — in fact, the problem is that we are still physically commuting to work. There is no such need. Between the Kay Angel staff and the Duong Designs team, we have team members in 4 different cities and 3 different countries. We work at different times, schedules and time zones. To streamline the process, we work in a virtual office. Here’s a glimpse of our team:

Emma ScruggsInterior Design Assistant
She is based in San Francisco, CA, currently working on a renovation project in Sausalito, CA and assisting Duong Designs various design projects.

Ian ChanPR/Marketing Assistant
He is based in Downtown Los Angeles, CA and is currently a student at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Lia Van de DonkKay Angel Orphanage
She is the Director in Jacmel, Haiti

Wieb van de DonkWeeshuis in Haiti
The Dutch fundraising team.

So, how exactly are we “green”?

Communication — we correspond via phone or iPhone and Skype. Preferably, we use Skype because it has online calls, conference calling, regular online chatting or video chats, file sharing and screen sharing. These are all very helpful tools for everyone on the team because everything can be communicated clearly — for example, we turn on the screen sharing application and simply zip through our screens. Then again, I prefer to speak via phone if I need immediate response because typing sometimes takes longer or because its too complicated to efficiently type. Things are much quicker that way.

Now, let’s talk about collaboration – we team up via Google docs & email. We use Google docs to share and edit documents live, so collaborating on a document, spreadsheet or presentation is updated in realtime, and this allows multiple people working on the same document at the same time. We also use the chat function to communicate with our team during document editing.

In terms of efficiency, thanks to our iPhones, we are constantly updated on new emails, push messages, Skype, and social media such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. With large computer files that in the past had to be burnt to CD/DVD mailed or physically transferred somehow, instead we dump things onto the FTP so others could access the latest files.

Christine has immense trust in her team and she’s done a great job in managing time and delegating various tasks. It saves all of us time, money and the environment. All in all, doing work this way, I have found that we are leaving a much smaller eco-footprint. Telecommunication forces us to work at a rapid pace: we rarely print, saving one of Earth’s most valuable resource — trees! Can you believe it? The entire time I have been on this project I have printed out only 2 documents! We usually print to PDF and email it onwards.

So, technology, I thank you. It’s a relief that I don’t have to waste time on the freeway, be subject to additional road rage nor breathe in toxic fumes during traffic.

The Virtual World — REAL Results

Now that we’ve established a clear way of communication and collaboration, the next question is: How can we market ourselves effectively while still being eco-friendly?

Social networking – through various social media like TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook, Christine is able to reach out and receive more help than she ever could if she had not “gone green”. For example, just a few hours after her first tweet about the Haitian orphanage on Twitter, she received a tweet from the co-founder of Architecture for Humanities, who was about to leave for Haiti and wanted to find out more about our current project with Kay Angel.  Also via her Blog, she has connected with various manufacturers of innovative green products who will be helping with the project also. Amazing!!!

What’s Next?

Follow us at blog.duongdesigns.com. Let’s join the eco-friendly movement and go green!!!

Please contact Duong Designs for more information at 310.428.7280.

Ian Chan

Ian Chan is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), Marshall School of Business, earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration. His professional experience ranges from corporate finance to non-profit development, having worked at companies such as the Agricultural Bank of China, The Salvation Army, and Cross Cultural Solutions.

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