Wellbeing of Architects project – new insights
The Wellbeing of Architects project has released its major report on a series of focus groups conducted between May and June 2022 with nearly 70 people working in the architecture profession in Australia. The focus groups identified a wide range of complex issues and discussed solutions and ways forward.
The focus groups built on the major Wellbeing survey conducted in 2021, which indicated the wellbeing of people working in architecture was affected by a range of issues, including time management (deadlines, long hours, overtime), financial and resource management (fees charged, remuneration paid), and the broader societal and individual valuation of architectural services. The groups set out to examine these themes in more depth: to explore a more nuanced, qualitative and conversational approach to those themes, through the lived experience and direct expression of people working in the architectural profession. The ultimate aim was to explore ideas for solutions and resources to better support wellbeing in these areas.
The Focus Group report reveals how working in architecture has had both positive and negative effects on the wellbeing of people, often in complex ways that intersect. The report is brought to life by rich and incisive excerpts from the discussions.
Encouragingly, the research shows that there are many aspects of working in architecture that positively impact practitioners, notably a sense of passion and fulfilment gained from contributing to people’s lives and communities through their work. Participants also found satisfaction in the process of the work itself, including complex problem solving, close collaboration, the continual learning involved, and the diversity of roles available in practice.
The focus groups also described a range of complex issues that negatively impact their wellbeing, notably the ways that time and labour are managed in practice, stressors within the wider industry such as low fees and procurement practices, and negative perceptions of value.
Overwhelmingly, the perception was that architectural practitioners have little or no formal management training, and this is the source of compounding issues at many levels of experience.
The correlation between low fees and the compromised capacity for a practice to appropriately fund labour was emphasised and seen to have a flow-on effect of long-hours, unpaid labour, financial losses, stress and anxiety.
For more information about the Wellbeing of Architects project, including publications and resources, visit the website.