Designers’ Mind: March update

Who else is excited for spring? We were lucky enough in the UK to have a few days of sun and warmer temperatures and t made so much difference to our overall well-being.

The days are getting longer and that extra daylight makes it easier to enjoy morning and evening walks. Getting fresh air and time outside in nature is so good and we look forward to be able to do it even more.

On top of Spring, March is also a busy month to talk about our well-being.

Join Designers’ Mind over on Instagram to talk about the importance of our well-being.

Designers Mind Resources:

We’ve come across a new resource from the BBC, called Headroom. It’s a mental health toolkit with tips, uplifting music and meaningful conversations. You can check it out here.

The Mental Health Foundation Council Covid-19 page also has very useful resouces for coping with your mental health during this time.

For those that do feel they could use a bit more support you can always check out the list of Designers Mind Resources

We all have mental health. Let’s be kind to ourselves and to each other. Looking after ourselves is more important than ever.

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And in other news:

Known by everyone, but rarely discussed openly, is the issue of work-based stress. This is an issue that’s been taken up by a group of architectural assistants, Future Architects Front, who have written an open letter to the RIBA, complaining about systemic exploitation and ‘bad faith in the current state of professional architectural practice’.

For many architectural assistants, the lack of support and the dearth of opportunity during this pandemic has demonstrated what we have long suspected: the current pathway to qualifying as an architect is dysfunctional and exploitative.’

Future Architects Front is calling for:

  • an end to unpaid overtime in all RIBA chartered practices
  • Effective oversight on the Architectural Assistant role.
  • Greater transparency in the RIBA’s budget and spending decisions.
  • Establish a more representative governing body.
  • Accountability for exploitative work environments.

It is to his credit that Alan Jones, RIBA president has met this challenge head on: “Any form of exploitation is completely unacceptable. The RIBA is unequivocal that all members and chartered practices must uphold the standards set out in our codes of conduct and practice, including a duty to provide colleagues and employees with a fair, safe and equitable working environment. Our practice leaders must ensure they give particular attention to the wellbeing and development of their less experienced staff.”

There’s that word ‘wellbeing’ again.

Yes, times are tough and, yes, fees are being squeezed. Exploiting staff, regardless of their junior or senior status, is a hopelessly short-term solution. Everyone who cares about their job and their career will make themselves available when the moment demands – but when that moment becomes the status quo – that’s different. That is mis-management at best and unprofessional and illegal at worst.

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