Such sadness. I have known Jack all my conscious life and like so many of the 'old guard' at Arup he was an integral part of my growing up. He was a really good sounding board who wouldn't mince his words, driven always by an engineer's clarity of thought. I will miss him; like many of the great people I have been lucky enough to know, he is often in the back of my mind, goading me to think with more clarity and communicate with more precision. Thank you Jack.
I wonder whether there are any architects - or other built environment professionals - involved in the Cabinet Office's 'specialist team'? It would be good to know who these faceless people are. This is an opportunity to get quality onto the public sector procurement agenda, so I'm not sure that leaving it to a team 'with a track record of delivering similar systems' is necessarily the best approach. I'm surprised nobody is making more of a noise about it. Am I missing something?
Comment on: New practice White Red Architects: ‘Architectural education leaves out how to find work’
I suppose I should be grateful. My business Colander Associates has been able to thrive because it fills the gap - helping architects to understand and develop successful business models that enable creativity and profitability to sit comfortably side by side... and it's fun!
What a sorry state of affairs – for Pepper, who is left feeling so angry that she needs to expose the graphic detail of her resignation to the world, and for BDP, who no doubt believe that they have followed watertight procedures and probably feel a little queasy at the idea of this story being spread across the pages of the AJ.
I understand Pepper’s anger: she clearly doesn’t feel that she was treated as a responsible human being but I also sympathise with BDP’s concerns about her proposed way of working. The sadness is that they were unable to resolve what is not an uncommon problem in a constructive and amicable manner. Strip away the emotional content, and there are some really important issues here; some to do with gender but mostly around flexible working, which is not a gender issue.
Actually, nobody works full time. We all (yes, even men) take holidays, attend office meetings, do CPD, undertake admin tasks, work on more than one project and even, on occasion have to deal with an emergency or take sick leave. As employers we accommodate this; part time working is a little more complex but it really is no different, and it should not be beyond the wit of man (or woman) to sort it out.
That said, as an employer, I would not want any of my staff routinely working a nine hour day. There are good reasons why 7.5 hours is recommended – not least to ensure that people have time to refresh for the following day’s work and maintain some semblance of an enriching work/life balance. The fact that many architectural offices expect their staff to work longer hours does not change this and, frankly, I would worry if one of the largest firms in the country was writing 9.0 hour days into a contract.
Personally, I’m not a fan of regular working from home either. Being in the office is not just about doing the work. It is also about creating a culture, learning from colleagues, being part of a team. Occasional working from home is fine but, in my experience, if done regularly, it cuts people off from the osmosis of being in the office: it often becomes isolating.
Looking at the trail of comments that this article has received (rather than the article itself), it is worth noting that any employee, male or female, needs to be reliable, to turn up to work when expected, and to do their work to the best of their ability but, it is just as important that employers don’t over step the mark and routinely expect people to go the extra mile. Trust, respect, understanding, and therefore a degree of flexibility, are crucial in any relationship: people really don’t like it if they feel someone is taking the piss – whether they are a man or a woman, an employer or an employee.
Good luck with your new venture Pepper. Remember this experience and be sure to be an exemplary employer when the time comes.
To be fair, U+I is doing its bit to help educate the next generation of architects - I've just spent a wonderful morning with a team from U+I along with the students on the Masters in Architectural Design Management course at IE University, discussing presentations and what clients are looking for.
Guess what? It's not rocket science!