CEO Report – May 2024

Angelina Pillai , 20 May 2024

What do the Time Cost Calculator Guide, the Business of Small Practice (BoSP) forums, the AMWF Toolkit, the ACA Business Management Advisory Service, Stepping Up! series, Employee Assistance Program, the Architects’ Award, HR policy templates and the Salary Calculator have in common? They all offer specific support, advice and guidance on how to run your practice as productively, equitably and profitably as possible.

It was interesting to see these themes foregrounded at the recent Wellbeing of Architects Symposium, at which the ACA played an integral part. Day 2 of the event focused on wellbeing in practice, which highlighted the alarming findings that connected architects’ wellbeing and poor business and practice management skills.

Time, money, risk, value, legislation, policy and safety are some of the key systemic drivers that affect workplace practices, but there are simple yet effective ways to help address these issues. For a more detailed roundup of the event, head to Sarah Hobday-North’s summary.

In addition to all the offerings I listed, the Symposium launched the Guides to Wellbeing in Practice (now also on the ACA website). These Guides were designed to provide practical, productive guidance for people at all levels, in all sizes of practice, from leadership and management to employee roles, and across professional organisations. Directed to individuals, practices and the wider profession, the Guides outline the key issues, and provide positive, practical and productive strategies for change.

There’s nothing ‘fluffy’ or ‘intangible’ about all this. In fact, it just makes good business sense. Now more so than ever, it’s become abundantly clear that when your businesses are thriving and flourishing, it has positive impacts on the wellbeing of everyone in practice.

We are committed to activating these Guides through meaningful and accessible programs and we look forward to announcing them over the coming months. The next step is to ensure proper metrics are in place to measure progress. The ACA will continue to act as your business partner through this, each step of the way.

The final session of the symposium culminated with a panel discussion of industry representatives that I had the pleasure of chairing, discussing how bodies like ours can improve wellbeing in architecture through systemic and structural changes. The work that each of us does serves a very clear and distinct purpose for serving architects, the architecture profession and our society at large. From representing architects through good design, to supporting architectural practices with running good businesses, to advocating for the interests of emerging architects, right through to regulating and maintaining the integrity and standards for this profession so consumers are protected … We all have clear responsibilities.

The panel examined the possibilities that emerge when groups like ours come together with a common mission. There was recognition that we need to heighten communication amongst ourselves, encourage the use of our platforms to foster belonging for our members, bring clarity to the work we all do, and a collective responsibility to advocate loudly about the value of architecture. These were critical alliances and initiatives that are needed to effect lasting change. Lots more to do, but we have started that collective dialogue.

  • Angelina Pillai, Glenn Scott, Tiffany Liew, Cameron Bruhn & Sonia Sarangi
  • Glenn Scott & Tiffany Liew
  • Sonia Sarangi
  • Tiffany Liew
  • Justine Clark, Angelina, Naomi Stead & Sonia Sarangi

Angelina Pillai is the Chief Executive Officer of the ACA. The ACA is enormously proud to have been an Industry Partner on the Wellbeing of Architects project and a keen participant of the Wellbeing Symposium. We are keen to incorporate the research and the Wellbeing Guides into our future work.

Photos: Alex Salem, courtesy of the Wellbeing of Architects project.