Get to Know Our Firm Culture
Welcome to Raw Design!
We are Raw Design Studio, located in Salt Lake City, Utah! We are pleased to introduce you to our team and the way that our firm runs. We believe that it is important to show the ins and outs of our everyday operations and how we keep up our company culture during a pandemic. In the future, we intend to post about current and past projects, employee spotlights, different project types, and more, so keep an eye out!
Our team as of February 2022!
Raw Design Studio
Raw Design Studio was founded in 2012 with the intention of designing beautiful and functional spaces for clients in and around Utah. Over the years we have had the privilege of working with many different clients and consultants and are proud to have our work spread across the Utah valley and beyond. We truly value diversity, and our team is comprised of people ranging in age, race, gender, and experience. At Raw, we give employees room to grow and ensure that they receive the resources they need. Everyone wears many hats and each person plays an important role in the firm. We are a collaborative office where team members feel comfortable approaching each other for questions and feedback to produce the highest quality of work possible.
Over the years, we have experienced many changes including new team members, different office locations, and even figuring out how to manage during a global pandemic (that is still in effect)! Yet one thing is clear, Raw Design has a unique firm culture that continues to prosper regardless of the circumstances.
Pre-Pandemic Studio Environment
Before the onslaught of COVID-19, Raw Design’s firm culture mainly focused on a studio environment where everyone worked together in a highly collaborative space. This was great in many ways, as it allowed team members to give feedback and receive input instantaneously. Desks were situated together in one open space, and it was easy for junior designers to reach out to project managers about redlines a few feet away. In addition, pin-ups took place often which added to the collaborative environment. Meetings occurred a few times per week, and coffee and pastries were usually included. It was also very common for team members to go out to lunch together as a form of team bonding!
Adjusting to Remote Work
When March 2020 rolled around and quarantine took effect, this studio environment was abruptly put to a halt. It became apparent that the safest way to operate at that moment was to switch to a 100% remote situation to minimize the amount of face-to-face contact as much as possible. This was difficult, as a few of our team members were recently hired and it was a drastic change that took much adjusting for everyone.
In the beginning, we struggled to find the best communication tools, but eventually, we found the right ones for our firm. For virtual meetings, we mainly use Google Meet. We hold check-in meetings three times a week to discuss how our workload is going and if any assistance is needed. One thing we agreed upon from the beginning is that we would all have our cameras on during these meetings so that we still feel a sense of camaraderie, which has been working well! Communications with clients and consultants are mainly conducted through email, and for discussions and questions about projects within our firm, we mainly utilize Google Chat and Slack messaging. Google calendar is also useful to check each other’s schedules, and Bluebeam sessions are especially helpful to redline and comment on each other’s work.
The months went by, and when December 2020 eventually arrived, we held our holiday party through Caputo’s virtual charcuterie board event! It was proving to be very possible to still have team-bonding activities without having to meet face to face. Once everything became even more efficient in terms of working remotely, we added three new members to the team!
Learning and Improving in a Hybrid Environment
At Raw, we take health and safety very seriously, therefore once vaccinations became available in the Spring of 2021 we were all determined to make our appointments. Once everyone became vaccinated by June 2021, we felt more comfortable meeting with each other in person over lunch instead of a virtual meeting. Some of us even felt comfortable enough to start going to the office once or twice a week. As far as meeting with consultants and clients, we always give them the choice of meeting in person or virtually. Today our office operates in a hybrid environment where everyone is given the option to work remotely or in person, and we still encourage collaboration, however that may take shape.
Once a month, we meet in person and have lunch meetings. We use this time to discuss anything prominent happening in the firm. This sometimes takes the form of design charrettes where we all sketch out ideas for a project in order to help with direction. Other times we have met to discuss marketing tactics or goals of the company moving forward. More recently, we’ve been participating in lunch and learns, where various companies join us at Workhive to give a presentation on their products or services. These meetings are very informative, and we enjoy learning about new up-and-coming innovations in the industry. In addition, every other Wednesday we hold virtual Revit training sessions open to whoever chooses to attend.
Wednesday Revit Training session, led by Brian.
The Impact on Our Team
In some ways, we have found working in a new system to be hard, especially as new team members have joined and it is difficult to form relationships primarily through a screen. Many of us also find that lags in communication are sometimes unavoidable due to the nature of online tools. On the other hand, working remotely has some upsides to it. A lot of our team members enjoy working from home while having their family and pets for company.
As this pandemic continues, we have yet to see how much more our firm will evolve to adapt to the times. Yet one thing is for certain, we will continue to work as a team to find solutions that we are all happy and comfortable with, thus making us productive and proud of the work that we create together.
Check out work from Raw Design Studio by following us on Instagram and Facebook, and look out for more blog posts coming soon!