Workplace culture

Establishing and maintaining a healthy workplace culture is one of the key drivers to running a successful, productive business. From leadership to mentoring, flexible work and equity, the ACA covers the important topics that will assist you to build a strong workplace culture, and attract and retain the best people for your practice.


How to be a Good Leader

28 June 2022

Improving culture within architectural offices starts at the top, but everyone has a role to play. This article offers ten tips to become a better leader, and features a downloadable poster and toolkit for your practice.

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Trends & Challenges in Practice

24 June 2022

Architecture and engineering firms across the Asia Pacific describe the business challenges they are currently facing and how they are planning to overcome them.

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On Mentoring

20 June 2022

The next online CPD event in the Stepping UP series focuses on the what, why and how of mentoring. Join the ACA, Parlour and the Champions of Change for a productive discussion on Monday 11 July with Ben Green of Em Be Ce, Erin Collins of Hayball and Gemma McDonald of DKO.

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Leadership Toolkit

20 June 2022

The Champions of Change Leadership Toolkit proposes 10 Tips for all to consider about good leadership, with the ultimate goal of improving culture within architectural offices. Hamish Ginn from SJB takes us through the background, motivations and use of the toolkit.

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How to create a good parental leave policy

6 June 2022

A good Parental Leave Policy is essential to creating a workplace culture and policy environment that supports parents at all stages. This helps ensure that raising a family doesn’t derail or devalue the career of a talented and valued individual, while also enabling the practice to accrue long-term benefits from investing in staff training and development. This article offers an approach to developing and implementing a parental leave policy. 

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What is parental leave and why does it matter?

6 June 2022

Parental leave is much more than a short-term leave entitlement for working mothers. Good parental leave policies are applicable to all, helping everyone to lead a balanced life, with time for families, and time to commit to projects, practice life and career. The following article outlines the benefits and challenges of good parental leave policies, and some recommended strategies to implement before, during and after leave.

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On Parental Leave

23 May 2022

Watch Stepping Up on Parental Leave, a frank and useful conversation with Philip Vivian of Bates Smart, Zoë King of Cox and Richard Sucksmith of John Wardle Architects – includes bonus footage from the conversation after the event.

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Flexibility Resources

9 May 2022

There are plenty of great resources out there with advice and information on transitioning to flexible work. Here are a few of our favourite informative and thought-provoking articles, podcasts and websites.

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How to create an effective flex policy

7 May 2022

An open and transparent flexible work policy is critical to fostering an effective, collaborative and healthy workplace, where people feel supported if they choose to work flexibly and where meaningful and rewarding career opportunities are available. The following article includes practical advice on developing and implementing a flex policy in practice.

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What is flexibility & why does it matter?

7 May 2022

Modern workplace culture expectations have been strong drivers for flexible working for some time, but the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 has accelerated the transition for many. So, how does flexibility work in practice, what are the benefits and challenges, what is its impact on equity, what is the business case for change and what are some of the types of flexible working?

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Flexibility case study – Woods Bagot

5 May 2022

Woods Bagot explains the process of committing to increased flexibility and outlines some of the benefits and challenges as they move forward into the ‘new normal’. 

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Flexibility case study – BVN

3 May 2022

BVN outlines some of the initiatives that have worked for them in their transition to the All Roles Flex model and now a Hybrid Working Model.

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Flexibility case study – COX

3 May 2022

COX Architecture identified some key takeaways from the implementation process of the All Roles Flex policy.

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Listening and Learning – How it works

4 April 2022

Monica Edwards summarises the process, objectives and outcomes of the Listening and Learning sessions, developed by the Champions of Change Coalition.

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Listening, Learning and Leading

4 April 2022

Listening and Learning is fundamental to the Champions of Change Coalition approach. Monica Edwards outlines the four-step process, describing it in relation to design processes.

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Architects Champions of Change

21 March 2022

Monica Edwards and Shaun Carter were instrumental in getting the Champions of Change Architecture Group going and remain highly involved. They discuss the Champions’ origins, achievements and challenges, and plans for the future.

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Stepping Up!

26 April 2022

The ACA is delighted to partner with Parlour and the Architecture Group of the Champions of Change on Stepping Up, a new event and editorial series that will run throughout 2022.

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Securing Talent in 2021

11 November 2021

This year has been one of the toughest periods for sourcing talent in the Australian construction industry. Recruitment specialist Anna Roussos offers some timely tips for attracting and securing candidates.

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Architecture & Unbuilt Legacy

30 April 2021

Michael Lewarne challenges architects to reflect on the legacy they want to leave.

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Enhancing Management and Leadership

29 April 2021

Parlour’s Work & Wellbeing survey increases understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on Australian architecture. What are the opportunities to improve and change leadership and management in the profession? What might that mean for practices? Anwyn Hocking unpacks the answers to the open questions.

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Flexibility and Remote Working

8 March 2021

Many practices are at the crossroads of the hybrid working model, but how do we adapt to the new way of working? Fiona Martin reflects on the best way forward for practices big and small.

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Balancing Flex with the Needs of Business

24 February 2021

Successful flexible work arrangements often rely on good communication and an effective (ongoing) consultative process. Angelina Pillai offers some timely advice on rolling out flex in the workplace.

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Flexible Working – A Blended Approach

20 February 2021

COVID-19 has been a game-changer in the world of work, with enforced remote working prompting a reassessment of the way we do things. Merilyn Speiser explores the lessons of lockdown.

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MCC Report on Sexual Harassment

23 September 2020

‘Disrupting the System: Preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment’, a new report from the Male Champions of Change, aims to shift the way we understand and respond to sexual harassment. Justine Clark provides a summary.

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Leadership for Architects: 101

28 May 2020

Peter Raisbeck explores how ethical leadership and decision making are crucial in these uncertain times.

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How to Lead a Remote Workforce

6 April 2020

Robert Peake, principal of Management for Design, offers his top tips for effective leadership with remote teams, including setting clear expectations and following through, giving trust freely, and managing achievement, not time.

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How to Hire, Fire & Manage Employees

7 August 2019

Recruiting the right people and then managing them well is essential to the success of your practice. Merilyn Speiser offers a guide to getting the HR fundamentals right.

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Pay Equity: Resources & Reading

9 July 2019

The issue of pay equity has been on the agenda for Australian governments and business for decades, but pay disparities remain a persistent problem in many workplaces.

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Implementing a New HR Policy

27 June 2019

How do you build a strong HR policy without impacting on the culture of your practice? Merilyn Speiser provides a brief guide on implementing change as seamlessly as possible.

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How to Achieve Pay Equity

27 June 2019

Compare and contrast pay rates and don’t misread confidence for competence, advises Cassandra Keller.

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Tips for Maternity Leave

4 December 2018

Sarah Lebner reviews her experience of preparing for maternity leave while balancing her responsibilities as a principal architect.

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Flexibility - New Award Clauses

28 November 2018

New clauses in Modern Awards aim to further support flexible work. The ACA outlines what this might mean, how employers can prepare for these changes, and where to find good material to support flexible workplaces.

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Right to Request Flexible Work

28 November 2018

The Modern Awards include a new clause outlining the right to request flexible work.

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Parlour Research and Data Analysis

12 November 2018

New data analysis by Parlour's Gill Matthewson shows that we've seen some improvement in the stats for women architects, particularly registration and business ownership, but the gender pay gap persists and it's clear there is still much work to be done.

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Rethinking Culture, Communication and Boundaries

5 November 2018

Michael Lewarne offers prognostications and provocations about cultural change and leadership in the architecture profession.

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How to Make Flexibility Work for your Practice

12 October 2018

Think flexible working will hurt your bottom line? A recent study found flexible workers were more, not less productive than their peers. So, how can you make it work in your practice? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants looks at the issues.

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Report Identifies Widespread Sexual Harassment

21 September 2018

The Australian Human Rights Commission has released the findings of its national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

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Valuable Experience or Exploitation? The Story of Unpaid Internships

7 August 2018

In a profession under pressure, unpaid internships are becoming increasingly common, but they may be placing our most vulnerable students and graduates at risk. Melonie Bayl-Smith unpacks the issues.

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Managing the Risk of Sexual Harassment

16 July 2018

Implementing policies and staff training around harassment are important, but enforcement is crucial. Employers must be prepared to take direct action when required, advises employment law specialist Elizabeth Radley.

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Insurance and Sexual Harassment Claims

11 June 2018

Special Counsel Sarah Wood outlines the insurance implications of sexual harassment claims, and suggests risk mitigation strategies for architectural practices.

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The Ultimate Return to Work

14 March 2018

Providing support and easing the transition for an employee returning to work makes good business sense, argues Jennekin Dicks.

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Stopping Harassment in its Tracks

15 December 2017

How does your practice address sexual harassment at work? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants offers a 10-step approach to keep your business harassment-free.

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Individual Flexibility Arrangements

2 June 2021

Individual flexibility arrangements provide the opportunity to vary modern awards or enterprise agreements to provide flexibility in a fair and appropriate manner.

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The powerful impact of part-time work

18 August 2017

Part-time employment can have enormous benefits - to employers and employees, but also to the creative process, argues Madeline Sewall.

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The Merits of Mentoring

8 May 2017

When it comes to creating a motivated and well-supported architectural workforce, mentoring is a no-brainer, argues Michael Smith.

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Go Hard or Go Home!

20 March 2017

Lee Hillam reflects on the long-hours culture in architecture.

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Wanted: More women at the top

8 March 2017

Women make great leaders, but a seat at the top table is often elusive. Emma Williamson explores the obstacles women face on the road to the top.

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Reverse Mentoring

21 September 2016

Reverse mentoring has much to offer architectural practices, with potential benefits to employees, employers and the whole business.

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EOFY: Remuneration resolutions

4 July 2016

Leone Lorrimer offers a series of resolutions to help ensure that architectural practices provide fair and equitable remuneration, and a set of resources to support them.

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Managing for Happiness

14 June 2016

Nurturing a company culture of opportunity and challenge, support and appreciation is not just about giving you a warm fuzzy feeling - it can increase your bottom line. Rena Klein makes the case.

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Attracting and retaining great employees

17 May 2016

Competition for good architectural staff is keen across much of Australia at the moment. Salaries matter, but as Krista Shearer from Bespoke points out, there are other things your practice can do to attract and retain good people - and people rarely move for salary alone.

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Champions of Change

15 April 2015

Sydney-based representatives from top Australian architecture practices have signed up for the first Male Champions of Change program in architecture. Leone Lorrimer reports on the launch event, the initiative, and what it means for Australian architecture.

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Successful Leadership Succession

7 March 2015

How do you develop a clear, effective process for succession in your practice? Robert Peake outlines the key issues and strategies, and warns of problems you may encounter.

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A Guide to Managing Performance

6 March 2015

Retaining high performing employees and managing performance have major business benefits. Peta Tumpey and Katie Simon of TressCox Lawyers provide a guide.

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Supporting Registration

10 November 2014

Recent research on registration has identified concerns about the way the process impacts negatively on women - and thereby on practice more broadly. What can the ACA and architectural practices do to help improve things?

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Making Strategy Happen

5 November 2014

Does your practice have an effective strategic plan? Robert Peake, of Management for Design, outlines the importance of strategy, and suggests some ways to get started.

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Supporting Working Parents

5 August 2014

What does the recent Human Rights Commission report mean for architectural businesses?

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Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice

13 May 2014

The Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice aim to help Australian architecture move towards a more equitable profession; one that offers opportunity for all and is better positioned to meet contemporary challenges.

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Why HR Policy Matters

12 May 2014

With the release of the new ACA HR Policy Templates, we outline the benefits of having policy in place for practices of all sizes.

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Guide to Hiring New Employees

31 March 2014

A new guide for small business from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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Pay equity

30 January 2014

Equal Pay Day draws attention to the pay disparity between men and women. We list some resources to help you ensure this is not an issue in your practice.

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To Work or Not to Work? The Part-time Question

12 November 2013

Melonie Bayl-Smith argues that flexible work arrangements may be the best option for an architectural practice to retain its corporate knowledge and for the profession to retain its talent.

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Performance reviews

9 September 2013

How do you make performance reviews productive for both the business and the employee?

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