While in theory architects can work from home, the reality is that majority of studios have not adapted to modern technologies to the extent that would allow them to let the team work from home.

I have worked in architecture studios in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Tbilisi, and Prague during the past 7 years, and in none of those studios were the employees allowed to work from home for an extended amount of time. Having said that, in my last studio, there were a couple of mom architects who had a special arrangement with the studio to have home office 50% of the week, but this is quite rare and not the industry standard, unfortunately.

Working from home is desired by many architects, but as my colleagues used to say, not 100% of the time. Being able to communicate in person within the studio still remains the main most effective means of communication, as it guarantees real-time feedback and faster elaboration of design concepts/options.

The next question is Why. If, for example, IT companies allow their employees to work remotely part of the time, why architects are not allowed to do the same?

While the generic reasons would be:

  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Access to Resources and Tools
  • Client Interaction and Presentation: Architects often meet with clients, consultants, and stakeholders to present design proposals, discuss project requirements, and address feedback. Face-to-face interactions provide opportunities to build rapport, convey ideas effectively, and gather nuanced feedback, which can be difficult to achieve remotely.

We need to go a layer deeper. Those reasons are valid but can be easily solved with the following steps:

  1. Flexible Work Policies: Studios can develop flexible work policies that allow for a certain degree of remote work while still prioritizing in-person collaboration when necessary. This could involve implementing hybrid work models where employees have the option to work remotely for a portion of the week while ensuring that key meetings and collaborative sessions are scheduled for times when everyone is in the studio.
  2. Investment in Technology: To support remote work, architecture studios can invest in technology infrastructure and tools that facilitate virtual collaboration and communication. This includes video conferencing platforms, project management software, and cloud-based design tools that enable team members to collaborate effectively regardless of their physical location.
  3. Clear Communication Channels: Establishing clear communication channels and protocols is essential for remote collaboration. Studios can implement regular check-ins, virtual project reviews, and online brainstorming sessions to ensure that team members stay connected and informed about project progress and updates.
  4. Flexible Workspace Design: Studios can redesign their physical workspace to accommodate flexible work arrangements, such as hot-desking or designated collaboration zones. This allows employees to choose the most suitable work environment based on their tasks and preferences, whether it’s in the studio or at home.
  5. Training and Support: Providing training and support to employees on remote work best practices, time management, and effective communication strategies can help facilitate a smooth transition to remote or hybrid work arrangements. Studios can also offer resources and tools to support remote productivity and well-being.

The truth is that the majority of architecture businesses I have worked for do not have KPIs in place.

Due to a lack of objective trackable/chartable measures leadership is only confident in the efficiency of employees if they see them look busy at their computers.

Developing systems that allow employees to have hybrid or remote work arrangements, takes time and effort. Unfortunately, a majority of offices are not ready for it, and do not consider it necessary.

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