Saneia Norton, Kim Bazeley and Eloise Atkinson discuss the impacts of the last two years and speculate on what the future holds with Justine Clark, Naomi Stead, and our enthusiastic thoughtful audience. Access the CPD questions below.

The first in our two-part finale of Light at the end of the Tunnel is a fascinating discussion about the enormous impacts and workplace shifts caused by the pandemic and some insights on where the profession is heading next. Our speakers revealed what they have learned during these strange times and offered advice on how to harness new opportunities and get through adversity.

Themes that emerged include the strong connections between work, identity and mental wellbeing; the ‘Great Alignment’ as people shuffle between practices in the search for meaningful careers; and the welcome emergence of a greater empathy in the workplace.

Saneia advised the audience to “listen to their inner voice” and follow their instincts when it came to next steps, while Kim spoke eloquently of the importance of holding onto the equity wins that have unexpectedly fallen in our laps due to enforced remote work and flexibility. As a practice owner, Eloise spoke about bringing the good things about working from home into the office environment – natural ventilation, good light, spending time outdoors during the day. While acknowledging the difficulty of losing staff during the ‘Great Reshuffle’, she also pointed out that new employees can bring different perspectives and ‘fresh eyes’ to a practice, which can only be a good thing.

We were delighted to see Boston-based Emily Grandstaff-Rice, future President of the AIA, in the audience, who shared her experiences of the pandemic in the USA and the impacts she has seen on life and work. While there have been huge challenges, increased online engagement has made stakeholder consultation and regional engagement much easier and less time-consuming.

We had a highly engaged audience on the day, with lots of insightful chat and contributions from the audience, including from Gemma MacDonald …

“I like the term ‘great alignment’ – people are more likely to move to a workplace that more closely aligns with values and purpose. People want to feel as though they belong. It’s even more important now.”

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The 2021 Light at the End of the Tunnel series is presented in collaboration with the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne. This session was recorded on Friday 19 November.