2020 Word of the Year: Adapt

Like much of the country, 2020 has been a year of adapting for Danziger Design. With so much uncertainty and fear at the start of the pandemic, Mary and I decided early on that the health and safety of each other, our families and our clients was of the utmost importance so we agreed to begin working in separate locations in March. After 16 years in a shared office space, this was the first of many changes to come that would take some getting used to.


With so many businesses forced to close, we felt fortunate to continue to operate and determined to pivot our approach to project management by implementing new and creative ways to conduct “business as usual”. As we quickly came to see, business was anything but usual in these uncharted waters.


Our determination prevailed, and we began leveraging technology to maintain connection to our clients and partners alike. Reflecting now, three particular jobs come to mind that demonstrated our ability to adapt to these unprecedented times – the first project was contracted long before the pandemic began but was finishing up right as it started. The second one began right when the pandemic started and the last one kicked off during the pandemic.


Our opportunity for adaptation and creativity began with our Newport Beach, CA clients who were just about ready to move into their newly constructed home overlooking the ocean when the pandemic struck. With travel restrictions in place, our original plan to manage the move in person was no longer viable so we pivoted again and conducted “Zoom Moves” from our (separate) offices on the east coast, connecting with the client, project manager, and movers in California. Coordinating two separate deliveries – one for new furniture and one for existing furniture – we directed movers on artwork and shelf placement using plans, elevations, blue tape, and good old-fashioned conversation over video chats. The move was a smashing success.


Following the accomplishment of the remote move management, we moved right on to working with clients that had purchased a home and hired us to renovate it right before the pandemic. With stay-at-home orders still in place, again we trusted technology to communicate regularly with your clients, leading Facetime calls from vendor locations including Architectural Ceramics to introduce our clients to design options. We conducted in-person meetings only when absolutely necessary, holding outdoor sessions donning the now obligatory accessory – a facial covering – and visited sites to check progress only after the contractors had vacated for the day. While physical distance from our clients had its challenges, the attention to their project was never lacking and a wonderful renovation was executed to their absolute satisfaction.

As “pandemic life” became our new normal, our clients also started adapting to life and a new client hired us this summer to completely renovate her condo. The interview and measurement process was performed remotely because this client wanted to proceed full steam ahead with a firm that could safely deliver. We directed the client to take measurements via video call, allowing us to begin the process under the circumstances, and once it was safe to do so, visited her home ourselves to confirm all. This team effort resulted in effective measurements that allowed us to proceed with the design planning, never skipping a beat.

In addition to these project-specific reflections, we have provided scaled drawings to the trades including wallpaper installers, to avoid unnecessary in-person visits to our clients’ homes.

In summary, ADAPTATION has definitely been our word for 2020. In the spirit of resiliency, we examined the way we were conducting business and adapted with appropriate safety measures and new forms of delivering our services. While our workloads have been smaller than in normal times, we have been fortunate enough to focus on marketing and continuing education, thus making time to prepare for the future of Danziger Design in 2021 and beyond.

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