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“At the start of lockdown there was a minor blip in productivity, however, this


was short-lived” David Shaw, Pick Everard


to travel to loved ones, childcare and home-schooling pressures, isolation and economic concerns.” To help support staff, Pick Everard have set up a wellbeing section within the practice, including ‘personal resilience toolkits’ as well as a number of trained mental health first aiders.


Positive outcomes From the firms we spoke to, architects seem to have successfully confronted many of the challenges posed by this strange and difficult period, and many have actually turned this negative experience into something positive. According to Chybík + Krištof, “going through a hard time together made us stronger, and we got to know each other even better, particularly on a human level.” Architects working from home have even been able to increase


their focus on work, with less distractions, providing “an excellent benefit for creative thinkers,” says Joelle Laney. She also mentions how Perkins and Will have been able to invite junior members of their teams to ‘listen in’ on client meetings and presentations, likely to not have been possible with face-to-face meetings previously. David Shaw says that Pick Everard have discovered that flexible home working on a firm-wide scale is achievable and can still yield benefits. He comments, “Regional teams have been communicating more easily and readily through the use of Microsoft Teams, and we have definitely become a more agile business, which we’re looking forward to sustaining in the long term.”


Beyond the pandemic


Adjusting to the new processes that architects have adopted to function in a world living with Covid has been an upheaval to say the least. And it’s led to a situation that's significantly different to their previous normal working lives, but also one which is likely to be sustained in the near future.


But will their approach and processes change post-pandemic, in a future where the virus remains a background risk? Chybík + Krištof say: “We believe that many of the strategies that we have developed as a practice during this time will be carried on in our future work.” Flexibility and agile methods of working, which have been adopted by most practices, “will form part of a new way of working within our practice,” says Pick Everard’s David Shaw. Joelle Laney agreed that while Perkins and Will’s approach to designing buildings has changed, they will continue to embrace the new working approaches required, in a way that benefits the firm for the long-term.


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ADF NOVEMBER 2020


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