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Have your return-to-office plans changed in recent months?

Archinect

Hey Archinect community, a lot has changed since we released the findings of our initial Return-to-Office survey in March this year. Responses gathered from our readers during the first weeks of 2021 displayed an overwhelming commitment by employers to offer an option to work remotely and/or to provide spatial changes to the work environment to protect employees that would soon return to in-person work.

To learn how architects and design professionals have changed (or stayed the course on) their return-to-office plans in recent months (Delta?), we are launching a new round of our brief survey. The results will be published on Archinect in the coming weeks.

You can fill out the survey here or share your thoughts and remarks right here in this thread.

What we're interested in:

  • Have you returned to the office?
  • If your office has re-opened, what changes, if any, have been implemented due to COVID?
  • Does working in the office, with your staff, feel safe and comfortable right now?
  • How has your company changed from pre-pandemic to now?
 
Aug 27, 21 6:34 pm
curtkram

so, i'm part of the great resignation.  while my previous firm only shut down for a couple months, really the team i shut down with isn't the team i got out of this with.

Aug 30, 21 7:38 pm  · 
2  · 
square.

still in arch?

Aug 31, 21 9:06 am  · 
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curtkram

yup. just a little different environment.

Aug 31, 21 12:28 pm  · 
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Dunno how things are at all the other schools, but we're back in business - masked up when indoors (some campuses are requiring masks in and outdoors. 

Masks and distancing for some classes have made zoom more valuable. You can teach an entire cohort at their desks instead of in a classroom- AND you can provide closed captioning. Results vary and may require a disclaimer on the 1st slide.

Aug 31, 21 5:30 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

Our office officially reopened July 1, but working from the office has remained optional for everyone. Some people have returned full time, some part time, and some are still 100% remote. I think this flexible model is going to be the default going forward. People have figured out it's sometimes more convenient / productive to work outside the office, and I don't think we're going to just give that up.

Delta has been an interesting twist, of course. We're back in a mask-mandate, and some people who had returned to the office have gone back home until they can work mask-free. Personally, I'm staying home about 95% of the time, only going in for occasional face-to-face meetings. I'm looking forward to going back at least half-time once the mandates start to lift again.

Aug 31, 21 6:24 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

we were all back into the office with only a few occasionally working from home (slowly opened back in July) but we’ve now imposed a double vax of stay home bylaw, I know a few are now forced to stay home while others have flexibility and can attend meetings and site visits. Masks only when not at desk. Mostly zoom for meetings but some in person stuff has picked back up. 

Aug 31, 21 6:28 pm  · 
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JLC-1

We worked from home only for 6 weeks in April 2020, been back full time since May 2020, doesn't feel much of a pandemic around here, other than the lead times for most of supplies and the fact I've only been able to travel to Iceland for 1 week vacation. 3 person office, in a resort town, not a lot of risk.

Sep 2, 21 11:31 am  · 
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During the summer case lull we were going to end up with a hybrid half office in M-T, other half W-Th, everyone home Friday system starting around this time. Needless to say, only a couple of us are in the office on a regular basis at the moment, and a few others come in occasionally. We have the technology as they say to make remote work actually work, and the mindset as a firm to make it work, so it's working. Therefore, no real rush, come back when you're comfortable type thing. 

Sep 2, 21 12:37 pm  · 
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44arches

Seems a lot of job postings mention flexible hybrid models now. For those looking to change jobs, is flexible schedule on or near top of the list? What could tempt you otherwise if no remote work option? 

Curious to hear both employee and employer views.

Sep 2, 21 2:22 pm  · 
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square.

i don't plan on ever working in a office full time, ever again. part of the reason i am sticking at my current firm is the flexibility we are given. for me, it's hard to give that up.

Sep 2, 21 2:41 pm  · 
1  · 

Honestly, I love having 2-3 days home a week. Don't have to do laundry in the evenings or weekends so I can actually enjoy my time. I'd say it saves me time by not having a commute, but I live a 10 minute walk from the office.

Sep 2, 21 2:43 pm  · 
1  · 

We (130-person, 5-office non-profit) were supposed to go back to office 3 days per week after Labor Day. Three weeks ago the Board came down with a new message: back to office is now delayed indefinitely.

That said, I'm going in some days and staying home some days, as is the rest of my small local team. I'm still doing site visits in person, and about half of my meetings are online, the other half in person.

Sep 2, 21 2:44 pm  · 
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We were only out of the office for two weeks.  Thanks to our ability to be stay 6' away from each other, combined with Colorado's Five Star program we didn't have to stay remote long.  

Sep 2, 21 2:48 pm  · 
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RJ87

17 person office:

- We've been back in the office for a while. 

- We don't have any "official policies" regarding COVID we've just been operating under a general "you're all professionals, act accordingly" policy. If you think you've been exposed stay home, otherwise proceed as normal. We don't have a vaccination mandate but every employee has been vaccinated on their own accord.

-Yes

-One or two folks working hybrid formats (3 days in the office, 2 days at home) because they like it. Other than that no changes.

Sep 2, 21 2:56 pm  · 
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Have you returned to the office? No, I'm still working from home and will likely do so until the firm makes going in mandatory, or case counts go down.

If your office has re-opened, what changes, if any, have been implemented due to COVID? We have reopened, but in somewhat limited way. Coming into the office is still optional, though they were looking at making at least 3 days in office mandatory until the delta variant changed things with regard to mask mandates. It was going to be unvaccinated individuals (or those who didn't want to disclose their vaccine status) needed to wear masks only, but now vaccines and masks are mandatory if you want to go into the office. This will probably revert back to the original plan once cases go down and mask mandates are less restrictive. We also have to "sign in" to let HR know we were in the office so they can do any contact tracing if needed.

Does working in the office, with your staff, feel safe and comfortable right now? Yes.

How has your company changed from pre-pandemic to now? We've looked at ways that we can keep some of the benefits of WFH and virtual meetings into a return to the office. We will likely require less travel and opt for virtual meetings where it makes sense. We've also changed WFH policies to allow for more options/flexibility for those that want to continue to WFH part of the time. I also think our multiple offices are more integrated on project teams than they used to be. Teams used to be made up of people in the same office, but working remotely allowed us to adapt and let teams be comprised of people working from all of our offices in a more integrated manner. This seems like it will stay for a while after a full (mandatory) return because of project timelines, but may not be something we continue long-term depending on how the return goes.

Sep 2, 21 4:00 pm  · 
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atelier nobody

I had actually returned to the office some time ago - since almost everyone else was working from home, I felt safely isolated with the 3 other people on the floor (none of whom sat very close).

Last week I had a minor Covid scare (turned out to be nothing) so I stayed home - now I'm thinking about staying home for a while (I'm home with the work laptop at the moment).

Sep 7, 21 1:45 pm  · 
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