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St. Clair Talks Robots and Other Tech Adaptations for Remote Working

This week BisNow spoke with leaders across the real estate ecosystem to learn how they are coping with the new reality of life and work within a global pandemic.

Our Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Holly St. Clair, explained some of the innovative ways Sasaki has integrated technology into our practice in the last several months, helping to soften the transition into working from home full-time. Robots from Ava Robotics are the latest addition to Sasaki’s arsenal of technology which enabled seemless connectivity and flexibility for team members, consultants, and clients to join in on in-person meetings from afar.

Read on for an excerpt of the article, below, or head to BisNow’s website for the full story.


Leaders at Boston-based architecture firm Sasaki began planning a coronavirus work-from-home strategy in early March, as U.S. public health officials urged Americans to practice social distancing to prevent further spread of the virus. Sasaki has a “business telepresence robot,” named Ava, that allows workers like Chief Technology Officer Holly St. Clair — who was home sick before the outbreak — to connect and move around the office, using the robot as a kind of avatar. Courtesy of Sasaki Sasaki Senior Associate Jessica Korthuis talks through a robot with Senior Associate Meredith McCarthy during an all-firm meeting. Sasaki is letting workers use the robot to roam its offices while teleworking during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The robots drive around the office and have a screen on top where someone can remotely interact with others in the office,” St. Clair said. “I could just hear informal conversations in a way you can’t hear when you’re on Slack.”  Sasaki officially began its company-wide work-from-home policy on Monday and has completely shut down its office to employees. Client meetings have been moved to videoconference services like Zoom and messenger platforms like Slack. While there have been some adjustments in productivity — like slower-than-expected WiFi at home and the stress of projects still on deadline, St. Clair said the company is trying to maintain levity and creative perks.  “While we’re out of the office, if someone wants to check on the space, they can use the robot to walk around,” she said.

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