Essential Skills Architect and Design Professionals Will Need in a Post-Pandemic World
The coronavirus pandemic completely transformed the way people work, socialize, and even think. While all professional service industries were impacted in some shape or form, the architect and design sector look like its future may see a huge transformation. Not only do workers need to adapt to a new normal like everyone else, but it's also probable how they approach the technical aspects of their jobs will look different. Let's take a look at the new or additional skills architects and design professionals will need in a post-pandemic world.
Work with virtual teams
All industries, where possible, shifted to remote work or partial remote work during the pandemic. How this looks in the future of architect and design is uncertain, but projects could continue to necessitate online collaborations. Firms may find the benefits of remote teams appealing. For instance, it's conceivable they'll find opportunities in larger labor and project pools. If so, this could dramatically shape what the average work experience would be depending on how this sector evolves.
If this scenario plays out, people working or pursuing these professions will need to build their communication and collaboration skills. They'll not only potentially be working remotely alongside internal colleagues, but communicating with construction managers, attorneys, surveyors, contractors, government officials, engineers, and tradespersons online as well.
Rethink design approaches
Creativity is at the heart of architectural and design professional jobs, but individuals working in these positions need to adapt to new kinds of designs. This shouldn't be a huge stretch, but what it will involve is looking at spaces differently for both commercial and residential clients. Future commercial clients are likely to seek ways to build or redesign common areas and workspaces to accommodate social distancing while maintaining efficiency. Residential clients may seek to reconfigure or build their homes with offices or flexible spaces to enhance their productivity. New requirements will have professionals rethinking how they create to fulfill client preferences while remaining cutting edge and creative.
Keep on top of legal requirements
Architects and designers have always been responsible for considering health and wellbeing inside buildings. As such, they've had to abide by building codes, regulations, and policies. These may evolve in a post-pandemic world. In August 2020, HMC Architects, a firm with offices in California and Canada, conducted a study that explored how COVID-19 might impact future building regulations. The study noted OSHA confirmed it is including COVID-19 as a "reportable illness" for workplace safety, which means employers face potential liabilities. The federal agency encourages employers to create an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan. One of the items OSHA recommends including is "building and building systems changes." Anyone currently working or entering this field should plan to keep abreast of potential ongoing regulatory changes.
Explore outside-the-box opportunities
Many firms lost significant amounts of revenue when their reliable clients were forced to shutter their doors, either temporarily or permanently. This is perhaps especially true for firms serving retailers which were already struggling pre-pandemic due to large shifts to e-commerce. Architects and designers who are able to explore outside-the-box opportunities may find new success. Trends always change, but in a post-pandemic world, creative workers are likely to find ways to integrate their artistic handiwork to improve the way people live.
For example, opportunities might be found in emerging market demands, creating new niches. Firms are already adapting and coming up with new ideas, such as food delivery hubs, adding outdoor spaces, flexible workspace areas, and increasing unit sizes to reflect more people working from home. Other potential niches include building in surfaces that are easily disinfected or features that provide or encourage better air circulation. In the design sector, this may be developing new creations to reflect visuals and moods that coincide with the times as it has historically done, during the Bubonic Plague and Renaissance, to name two eras.
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