Updated: Nov 25
Having systems and processes in place are a must as your interior design team grows. How else would you stay organized and productive if all your folders are a mess?!
A few years ago, the interior design studio I was working for in London agreed to let me work remotely; I really wanted to move to Brazil and I was surprised when they said yes straight away. I believe that they knew it would work because they had done it with other designers before and they had a system in place that was quite efficient; it didn’t really matter that I was on the other side of the world or in the office, I was taught how to work and organize files like everybody else.
We are all guilty of leaving filing, template creation and folder organization tasks for later because we’re so busy with clients, projects, a team of designers to manage, and so on. But that’s the point, isn’t it?!
If you spend some time doing all this now, you’ll be saving lots more time down the line, ensure consistency, become more efficient and be able to keep hiring without feeling drained from repeating yourself once again.
In today’s article, we will go over 3 ways files templates will transform your team’s productivity by:
01 | Saving you (lots of) time
02 | Boosting consistency & reducing errors
03 | Creating an easy on-boarding experience
01 | FIND A WAY THAT WORKS & DON’T REINVENT THE WHEELS
There is no doubt that the #WFH lifestyle has been an eye-opener when it comes to the importance of being crazy organized for both you and your team to work smarter, not harder.
I was talking to a few interior design directors earlier this week who believe they will be implementing some working from home once we go back to ‘normal’, so you understand how crucial it is finding a way that works for your business and sticking to it.
Spend some time re-organizing your entire project database. By that, I mean ALL your project folders, sub-folders, schedules, drawings files….
Spend time setting up templates now so that you can be more productive later.
If you have a well-established business, chances are you already have a system in place that you use over and over again with new clients.
If it works for you and your team, no need to reinvent the wheel – just make sure you automatize everything so it is clear to everyone, including new designers you will be on-boarding in the future.
If you look at the screenshot above, you will see that I created a clear project folder template, with sub-folders, that anyone on the team can easily understand and use for new clients. My team is 100% virtual so my folders are all on Google Drive and shared with the relevant designers who can easily copy the standard project folder, change its name and voila! If you are an interior design agency using physical folders for fabric samples, paper invoices and documentation from suppliers, and so on, I also recommend digitalizing everything and keeping them in your online database. Why?
Because there may come a time where you won’t have access to your physical folders and digital folders, accessible from anywhere, will come very handy…. Sounds familiar?
I also have templates for lighting, furniture, finishes schedules so we just have to add the relevant information in each box instead of creating a new file from scratch every single time.
Spend some time creating a filing system that works and stick to it; you’ll see how much more productive your team becomes when there is no guesswork.
Creating standard project folders is essential, so is creating drawing templates.
No matter what drafting program you use, AutoCAD/ Vectorworks/ Revit/ other, having templates will also be quite useful both for the designers who’ve been with you for some time and the ones who will be joining your team in the future.
While most of my team currently works on AutoCAD (due to popular demand), I’m more of a Vectorworks expert and always work with the same classes and layers so it’s easy for anyone to jump in to help me and know exactly the way I work.
Similarly, every time I have a new interior design client, I request drawing templates so that we work the same way the studio would work in-house. It’s a must because it allows them to work on the file in the future and not waste time trying to figure out the way we decided to set up the file. With each client, our goal is to act as an extension of your team so you shouldn’t be able to tell which designer, in-house or virtual, has worked on a specific file.
Spend time setting up a project, as detailed as you like, with all the layers/ classes and viewports that you may need, and I promise that it will save you tons of time when you have to quickly start a drawing for a new project.
Same thing for your project folders… the more specific they get, with subfolders, template schedules and admin sheets, the easier it will be for your team to get it right. Heck, also have a template with ALL the fonts and colors you use in your presentations to clients. Have it all laid out, ready to use.
02 | OPTIMIZE & INCREASE YOUR TEAM’S PRODUCTIVITY
“Do something once, benefit from it over and over…” teamwork. couldn’t say it better.
Templates allow you to standardize the process, reducing the chance for errors and increasing speed.
A few years back, I was working in a design studio and I saw firsthand how much time was wasted trying to figure out how the designer next to me had set up a drawings for a project. I’d go crazy because the way she used layers and classes was totally different to mine! There was obviously no way I was going to redo it all so I tried to follow what she’d been drawing but it was a struggle.
Needless to say…. If all the designers on the team were trained to set up folders, schedules and drawings the same way, our time would be used more efficiently.
We would also avoid feeling frustrated and upset with everyone in the office and probably be a little more motivated to get stuff done. And that takes me to my next point…
03 | MAKE THE ON-BOARDING PROCESS SEAMLESS
Demo video I did using Loom
Why not create a full on-boarding training for new designers joining your team so that you save valuable time for a member of your team to teach everything in the first week ? Obviously, some real training needs to happen but a lot of it can be standardized.
Loom, for example, lets you record your computer screen so it is quite handy for tutorials on where and how to use the project folders and what is expected from them in terms of setting up documents and drawings.
I used Loom to record a demo video (that you can find on my website) showing clients how we work, it was so easy and it got the job done.
As a business owner, you obviously have better things to do than train everyone and a small on-boarding training could save you time and money while also explaining the way your office works quite effectively.
And if the on-boarding training isn’t for you, template creation will still do its job with both in-house designers AND virtual designers if you decide to outsource some of your tasks.
Creating systems and processes is such an important part of your work as an interior design agency owner. It will save you LOTS of time in the long run, increase the productivity of your team considerably and create a smooth on-boarding experience to new designers joining your team. If your business is well-organized, outsourcing some of your tasks can be easily done because it will be clear how you need the work to be done.
If you want to learn more about outsourcing your interior design tasks and whether it’s something your team would benefit from, check out my previous blog articles on the subject and book your FREE consultation with me to see if we’d be a good fit
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.
You can find us on instagram @kvminteriordesign
Hope this was helpful and let me know if you have suggestions on articles you’d be interested in reading.
See you soon!
Kristell Valentina Mouries Director, KVM Design