What we really “care” about
14 Jul 2021
The annual London Festival of Architecture (LFA) was held throughout the month of June and this year’s theme was around “Care”. This was well-chosen on the back of the pandemic and gave us the opportunity to think about what we really care about as professionals in the built environment.
A few of us attended one of the LFA events organised by Women in Architecture (WIA) titled “Do we really care about women in Architecture?”. The discussions centred around issues such as whether women have achieved equality within the architectural profession, and their professional roles within practice in comparison to their male counterparts. There were also discussions around how different practices have supported staff well-being during the pandemic and the important lessons we will take forward into the future.
This event resonated with us as we are already passionate about staff well-being. We try to have an open culture where staff feel represented, heard and supported. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) of our staff is inherent in our core values. We already meet with the entire team each morning to check in with each other, and we hold regular team socials such as virtual coffee catch-ups. We want to take this further, to ensure that our staff feel welcome, respected and included as part of our office, and to go beyond that, to carry these values through to the wider industry.
We held an internal discussion following the event to establish how best we could improve on our current support for staff wellbeing and care.
This resulted in the following actions:
- Create an EDI focus group with on-going meetings to discuss our approach to embedding values of equality, diversity and inclusion within our practice as we grow in the future
- In addition to our team socials, to start a separate drop-in clinic which will provide a safe space, on Teams, where staff can talk, and any member of staff can volunteer to listen. The aim is to provide support to people who would like to informally chat through wellbeing concerns, and to reduce feelings of isolation.
- Following discussions on how we can take this beyond our practice and encourage the wider industry of clients and other professionals we work with to respect and observe similar values, we wrote an EDI statement. This is included in our email footer, fee proposals, website, welcome pack and job adverts. Our intention is to be visually active in the wider community in sharing our values.
Our new EDI Statement is follows:
We are a people first practice and champion equal opportunities. We expect equal treatment of all members of our staff, and we oppose discrimination toward protected characteristics including age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.
Women in Architecture
London Festival of Architecture