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Wellfield office

Getting back to our studios in our changing world

It was almost two months ago that overnight we moved out of our studios and into the homes of our employees responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions of lockdown. Our robust Business Continuity Plan with strong technology, culture and processes meant that we were able to able to adapt to the rapidly changing nature of remote working quickly and seamlessly.

Remote working has been part of our culture at Ellis Williams Architects long before this pandemic. It creates trust, productivity and empowerment for all of our team however we have never previously experienced it on this scale.

There has been lots of really positive outcomes of our new way of working. Meeting with our clients, contractors and supply chain via Teams, Zoom or Skype get-togethers has created human connections despite the distance, the laughter from our children and barking from family dogs as the post arrives has been comforting as we recognise we are all in this together.

The use of technology and virtual collaboration can make dispersed teams even more productive and creative. Many of our public sector projects have been given priority status and gathered even more pace. Another project is #DestinationBootle the UKs largest community-led neighbourhood development which last week was submitted for a full planning application in an amazing 15 weeks. During this period, we have created lots of bespoke and project specific virtual consultation and engagement techniques to continue our service to deliver high quality design on programme.

Whilst we use technology to maintain the human connection and quality of service it cannot replace the buzz of the office, the sound of visitors arriving, meeting rooms full of ideas and the smell of coffee brewing. As the Country starts to get back to work this week and many construction sites begin to reopen, we are also looking at how we will get back to work and look ahead to what may be our new normal.

We recognise that the world has changed and that like every Industry there will be a new normal. Some changes will be in the short term but many for the long term and we plan to embrace these changes many of which already existed in our business. We are looking forward to getting our studios back open and operating safely however the Coronavirus has revolutionised working habits and the traditional office and we will continue to shine a light on the pleasures of virtual working free from the daily commute, enabling an easier blend of work and family life.

Whilst our designs respond to our changing world so will our strategies as we continue to explore our new normal.



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