For a practice whose fundamental goal is to place people – not buildings – at the heart of our projects, processes and practice-life, Covid-19 offered us an unparalleled opportunity to prove ‘People Architecture’ to be more than just a strapline.
Across a difficult year, our Directors and Management Team have worked diligently to balance our staff’s continued professional development against overall business success, all whilst supporting our team as individuals. We believe that our success stems from our commitment to placing people’s wellbeing at the heart of every business decision, and our quick and sensitive reactions to feedback and changing circumstances.
This year we’ve introduced a new operations structure, designed to facilitate career progression at every level and fit every working style. We have also introduced our ‘One Team’ approach and flexible working policy, which not only allows our team to broaden their project and sector expertise but offers non-restrictive flexible working options for those with families, tutoring, or other commitments, and has supported staff forced to move cities or countries due to Covid-19.
We’ve continued to prioritise a collaborative and transparent environment, communicating not just within our own practice, but proactively seeking peer reviews and external mentorship opportunities with our contemporaries.
Despite the challenges of 2020, our staff base has grown by 10%, attracting professionals from across the globe to join our team.
Feedback taken from our recent Workplace Stress survey indicates we’re doing something right –
97% of our staff base believe they are supported by their colleagues and team leaders, and 89% felt their work during lockdown directly contributed to practice success.
At a time of heightened pressure, we also recognised our team’s need to support the wider community, allowing time and resource to support the delivery of innovative, non-fee earning research and initiatives:
- Our Workplace Consultancy team offered free consultation sessions to local businesses struggling to adapt to a Covid-19 working environment, and we have made innovative leaps in sustainable design, working on the UKs first Wet & Dry Passivhaus Leisure Facility.
- Our Inclusive Design Group used lockdown to research and develop better solutions for caregivers in leisure facilities and have subsequently started championing the rights of other underrepresented groups within communities, including elderly, hearing-impaired, autistic, and dementia sufferers.
- In response to the pandemic, and particularly the impact on students at critical points in their academic career, parents and graduates within our team took it upon themselves to create and launch GT3 Architects’ first Virtual Work Experience Kit, subsequently endorsed by both RIBA and Speakers for Schools.
In a year when countless milestones, projects, and career choices have been put on-hold, we believe that GT3 Architects have contributed to both our practice and our industry reputation and have continued to support our local communities.
We are not a large practice, and there is still plenty of work to do, but we are exceptionally proud of our professionals, and will continue to align practice strategy and – hopefully – our successes with the individual development and wellbeing of our team.