Projects in your back garden
Singapore 23rd October 2010
As I am about to embark on my trip to Hainan, now that typhoon Megi has passed through the area, I am wondering about those “far away” projects, certainly those that take you a day of travel to reach. From Shanghai it is a fairly easy connection with regular direct flights and a relatively short (<3hr) duration. However from Singapore the connection for some reason is horrendous with no direct flights and transit times of about 4 hours in Guangzhou or Hong Kong. A flight that would take about 3 hours direct now takes a full day. We have other projects in odd locations in the region that really take a full day to reach. In other words; for a one day meeting you are away 3 days.
It is something we do not immediately realize when we quote for the project as we do not necessarily check out the actual flights available to reach there, but I guess we should. Our fees generally exclude travelling and we do build in fees for attending a number of meetings, which becomes specifically relevant when you have to travel for several days for one meeting. The “positive” side of this situation is generally that the meeting is dedicated to your presence and pretty full on resolving issues pertaining to your design. Your presence is respected and appreciated and there is a committed attitude to resolve as much as possible, knowing that it may be a while before you are back.
But reversely for the projects that are “in your back garden”, the ones that takes you less than 1 hour or so to reach from your office, your presence is somehow less respected. Since you are around the corner there seems to be this belief that they can call you any time without any notice. I am sure many of you can relate to that. Even worse, they make you attend whole day meetings without consideration for your time. I am therefore very wary of projects that are in my back garden. Travelling maybe a time consuming thing but in the end somehow the meetings are much more fruitful and effective and your input much more respected.