Survey reveals architects are returning to the office post-pandemic

UK architects are looking to return to the office full-time as the Covid pandemic eases, rather than continue with a ‘hybrid’ home and office working mix.

The majority of architects surveyed (53%) in a recent report from netMAGmedia, said that they would be “returning to an office environment,” keen to benefit from greater collaboration and connection with colleagues. In total, 48% stated that “lack of connection with colleagues” was the main drawback of working from home during the pandemic.

This was double the score of the next largest complaint, which was IT issues affecting design collaboration; an issue for 24% of respondents to the survey. Also cited as key reasons for preferring the office were the ability to liaise directly with senior staff (20% of respondents), the impact on focus on productivity (17%), and being less involved with key decisions (15%).

The findings were gathered as part of a programme of audience research which netMAGmedia (publisher of architects’ monthly magazine ADF) is conducting in partnership with Edge Insight. Of the architects surveyed, 81% had been working from home during the Covid pandemic (in addition to mandatory lockdown periods).

Of the architects who said they would be returning to the office, 66% would be full-time, 16% two-four days in the office, and 18% one-two days, with four days in the office being the average, according to respondents. However, despite the trend to move back to a collaborative environment, 35% said they were keen to continue working from home.

According to the survey, Covid had had a range of negative effects on their practice. The main factor (for 51% of respondents) was project delays, with the next highest being delays to clients’ investment decisions (40%). Following those were furloughing staff (38%), reduction in income (36%), projects being cancelled (29%), cuts in project budgets (20%), and redundancies (11%). A small minority of 18% of respondents said they had been unaffected.