Equity in Architecture Firms

We appreciate Elsa Lam’s invitation to write about how the pandemic can affect change in our offices via inclusionary practices.

Here is a taste – please visit Canadian Architect to read the entire issue.

The atomization of architecture offices during the pandemic presented an immediate and profound change that no one could have anticipated. It’s come with immense challenges, but also opened new opportunities for equity in our workplaces. Like firms across Canada, Williamson Williamson closed its physical offices in mid-March, and was quickly up-and-running remotely. As offices embraced a new workflow, there was a universal acceptance of flexibility. Everyone would be working from home, albeit with deep concerns about health, family, and economic uncertainty. We were home with partners, children, parents, pets, chores, and every other pleasant—and not-so-pleasant—distraction that exists in our personal spaces.

For women in the workplace—now balancing roles as the default parent, head-of-household, and a productive team member—the pressures became even greater. Years ago, as millennials entered the workplace, they called for changes to the prevailing office culture. Ironically, this was buoyed by the widely circulated perks at the tech campuses, whose main purpose was to keep their staff at work as many hours of the day as possible. But at the core, recent architecture graduates sought greater flexibility in the way they approached and completed work…