We’re back. The ONA studio is now open (safely!)

It’s been a very tough few months for everyone adapting to ‘the new normal’ – it’s easy to start disliking that phrase, but onwards positively we must all go!

On Architecture has kept going admirably in the face of adversity, starting with adjusting to working from home for all. In spite of the obvious challenges, the team rose to the occasion brilliantly and coped incredibly well with the new work environment. One of the hardest things was to try and keep that vital sense of teamwork, which is often so much easier when you’re all in one space together. Microsoft Teams and Zoom helped, of course, even with the inevitable time lapses, breaks in service, and face-freezing! There was also the odd online Friday afternoon drink, and even a quiz. It’s fair to say that most aren’t now missing the seemingly endless stretches at the dining table, reworked bedroom space, or even the hallway that was an inevitable part of morphing our homes into workspaces.

On a personal note, I found it increasingly difficult to implement switch-off time during the working day, especially with interruptions from children and pets, and so found myself firing up my laptop before I’d had that essential first cup of morning tea. At the forefront of everyone’s minds, however, was to continue remembering the reason for all the adjustments – staying safe and well.

The decision was made not to rush back to the office, because we care about our staff’s well-being and resource. We reopened the office tentatively for the latter part of July, having facilitated the appropriate health and safety measures. That first week was quite exhausting, if only readjusting to more people than anyone had seen in many months, albeit from a safe distance, as well as slotting back into the routine of the usual working day. There has been a real buzz in the studio since returning.

Throughout this period, we have worked hard to focus on our existing clients, nurturing our projects, as well as bidding harder on new work. The month’s ahead will see how architecture can adapt and thrive in this unprecedented situation. We believe there is a real desire within the industry to continue to push forward new developments in order to ensure a sound economic standing.

by Ali Chivers, Office Manager