International Women’s Day Event

An informal drinks reception and panel discussion event took place at the RSUA Offices on Wednesday 8 March 2023 to mark International Women’s Day.

The event saw a panel of speakers discuss different working patterns, exploring how working patterns have, or haven’t changed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 lock-downs.

The first speaker was Michael Kane from AMK Consulting Engineers. AMK Consulting Engineers employ under ten staff members, all who work remotely. AMK has worked remotely since it’s conception in 2013 and Michael believes this model works well for employees, offering more flexibility with no commute time. Michael discussed other pros around AMK’s remote working environment which included better work-life balance.

Katie Stringer provided an insight into life at Studio Idir. Studio Idir currently operates a hybrid working environment for employees, but are quite flexible and do take into consideration individual circumstances. Suffering from a chronic illness, Katie discussed how she can have days where she really struggles health wise and having the opportunity to work from home is great. Katie also discussed a period of time where she had major surgery and was advised to stay at home for eight weeks following this. Katie was encouraged by Studio Idir to only come back to work when she felt ready and was under no pressure to rush back into the office. This provided Katie with peace of mind and relief during her recovery period.

Hana Stolcova discussed Whittaker and Watt’s current trial period of a compressed four-day week. Whittaker and Watt operate on a completely office-based environment with all employees in the office Monday to Friday. However, due to a recent change in Directorship, Whittaker and Watt are currently trailing a four-day compressed working week with employees. Employees will work Monday to Thursday only, however they will start work earlier and finish later on these days, meaning that they are still working their originally contracted forty hours per week. Hana provided pros to this which included an extra day off (meaning a three-day weekend).

Following on from our panel of speakers, an insight from a health perspective was provided by Dr Marie-Louise Thornton. Dr Thornton discussed menopause in the workplace and what employers can do to provide support for employees going through the menopause. This can be as simple as providing a desk fan, not asking questions if an employee has to leave a meeting due to symptoms such as hot flushes etc. Dr Marie-Louise Thornton will be back at the RSUA in April to meet with the Women in Architecture group and discuss menopause in the workplace further.