- Article by Tili Bensley-Nettheim
The second pulse check survey from the Association of Consulting Architects Australia’s (ACA) reveals COVID-19’s profound impact on architecture practice workflow and employment arrangements.
The Association of Consulting Architects Australia (ACA) first plus-check conducted in mid-March showed where architecture practices were preparing to feel the pain of COVID-19’s impact on economic and work arrangements.
In this follow-up survey, open from the 29 – 31 March 2020, the ACA checks in on how these expectations have played out as the pandemic has escalated.
Topline findings from pulse check no. 2 reveal practices’ serious concerns about their workflow and changing arrangements with their employees, but also show them prioritising staff wellbeing and employees adapting quickly to their diffused working environments.
Of the 777 responding practices, 89 per cent have had projects cancelled or put on hold, or anticipate that projects will be cancelled.
There are also considerable impacts on employees. A very high proportion (78 per cent) of responding practices are either currently negotiating changes to employment arrangements, or expect to need to do so. Concerns about standing down staff or redundancies are present for around one-third of offices. Most responding practices – 92 per cent – hope that the government wage subsidy will enable them to retain staff.
A high proportion of practices are now working remotely with most reporting the quick responsiveness of their staff to these new arrangements. Although changing working arrangements have decreased productivity in more offices, 47 per cent expect to recover fairly or very quickly.
Practice wellbeing was a focus of the ACA survey, with a high proportion of practices rating the mental wellbeing of the practice and people fairly highly or neutral. Of the responding practices, 40 per cent have processes in place to support wellbeing, while another half seek support in this space.
Scheduled check-ins, surveys and formal support from an external provider have been the go-to strategies to maintain an office culture outside the office.
The ACA represents the interests of architectural employers in industrial matters and is working hard to provide resources and support for navigating COVID-19 pandemic conditions.
Watch our Working from Home video series to see industry leaders share their remote work strategies.
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