As lockdown eases, recession looms. The RIBA is here to help practices navigate these choppy waters
We will not return to ‘business as usual’. As the pandemic leaves its indelible mark on society, business and our profession, our actions to respond to and recover from its chaos are what will create our new normal and new practice.
While lockdown may have presented opportunities for some architects to make positive changes to their working arrangements and re-evaluate the work/life balance, most have also experienced high levels of personal and professional anxiety, fearing future workloads, reduced salaries, redundancies and the difficulties of working from home.
But now things are starting to move towards a new version of normal. Work on site has resumed, architects’ practices are gradually returning to the workplace and businesses seem to be switching from ‘response’ to ‘recovery’ mode. We still face unknowns, especially regarding the extent of the financial fallout, but while we cannot be certain what lies ahead we can start planning for it.
It remains the priority of the RIBA to provide our members and practices with the guidance and support to help weather this storm. This means helping map routes to recovery and build future resilience through the RIBA Recovery Roadmap; creating a dialogue around post-pandemic design through our competition Rethink: 2025; and continuing to collect and share intelligence to understand how architects and students are coping.
Launched last month, the RIBA Recovery Roadmap provides guidance to help members plan their route to recovery. Split into three phases – response, recovery and resilience – the digital platform contains actions that practices can take across different areas of their business to respond to the challenges; from stabilising finances and supporting staff wellbeing to winning new business and reopening the office. ‘Road to Recovery’ podcasts will feature member reflections on topics covered in each phase, and these will align with the themes of RIBA Practice Clinics – online events where members can discuss their experiences with peer practitioners.
The RIBA Recovery Roadmap provides guidance to help members plan their route to recovery
Guidance in the Recovery Roadmap directly responds to member queries and concerns gathered via our regional teams, information line and surveys. Since March, huge numbers of architects have shared their views through our Covid-19 and Future Trends surveys, helping us tailor our output and provide a benchmark against which practices can compare their experiences.
These insights have also directly informed our lobbying activity with the government: our work to ensure policy makers provide the right support to protect jobs and businesses and take steps to mitigate an elongated economic recovery. We are also incredibly mindful that the handling of Brexit will play a major role in this recovery, and we continue to call for a feasible UK-EU deal that will allow for sustainable growth. We will also advocate for architects as being essential to the many other facets of a successful recovery, of wellbeing, social cohesion, equity and inclusion within private and public space, of place making and identity and belonging.
Whatever lies ahead, the RIBA will continue to support and advocate for members. The RIBA also wants to make it easier for those struggling financially to renew their 2020 membership so has introduced measures including a reduced rate application process for some individual members and an extension to the payment deadline. Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we move into the next phase, the RIBA promises to support you – our members and practices – in your own routes to recovery; to protect your interests, represent your concerns, and help you build resilience against current and future challenges in the process.
KEEP IN TOUCH
For those lonely in lockdown, architects in the south west are running a series of Quarantine Stories. Short, sharp and sweet, these personal stories give an insight into careers and challenges during the coronavirus and before. Search #RIBA_quarantinestories on twitter or visit RIBA Bristol and Bath on Facebook.