Grazyna: Returning to architecture in a flexible role
Richard Morton Architects is a small close, knit multi-cultural London architecture practice with a strong record of recruiting and retaining skilled female architects. One of the team, Christine Lee, a senior architect, has been working there since the practice was established, in 2012, under a flexible arrangement of 3 days per week, 5 hours per day. Previously she had enjoyed a variety of working arrangements which adjusted as her childcare demands varied: when her children were very young, she worked as little as 11 hours per week.
Grazyna Reichel was a colleague of the core team of Richard Morton Architects in their previous format as part of Sidell Gibson. Unluckily for Grazyna, Sidell Gibson collapsed while she was on maternity leave in 2013, leaving her with no employment to return to. She decided to stay home with her children for a while and had not thought specifically about returning to work when she received a call from Richard Morton Architects in 2015. They were looking for additional professional staff and remembered Grazyna for the quality of her work and her ability to get along with the rest of the team. Grazyna was delighted to have the opportunity to return to her profession and, thanks to the precedent set by Christine, she is able to work flexibly to suit her childcare needs. Currently she works 5 hours per day on 4 days per week. She found it very easy to return because she knew all her colleagues already as well as the firm’s ways of working, systems and processes.
Both Christine and Grazyna advise that a direct approach to architecture practices is generally welcome as they often have flexible needs for skilled staff who are hard to find by the standard recruitment routes.