We’ve covered tips for young architects and gave practical advice on starting your own architecture business. With time, you will need to delegate more and more, which means your employees become an asset.
As architecture practices grow into larger firms, they start facing a whole new set of challenges. Along with accounting, marketing, branding, and risk management, employee well-being becomes a thing too. At a certain point, you will need to consciously invest efforts into your employees, their state, and their mindset. Employee burnout is real even for smaller architecture companies.
Quick note – your workers don’t have to be official full-time employees in order to experience burnout. Assistants, freelancers, and remote workers are susceptible to burnout, too, if you work with them long-term. You need to actively apply measures that prevent and minimize burnout of everyone on whose productivity you depend, no matter the relationship between you. To avoid confusion, we are referring to all your helpers as employees here.
What is employee burnout and why it matters
Employee burnout is a state of chronic exhaustion. With architecture employees we are mostly implying emotional exhaustion – though physical depletion can build up as well, especially if your employees are still mastering time management.
Burnout manifests in apathy, cynicism, slower work, and lack of proactivity – all of which lead to something you should take very seriously – a decrease in productivity. Lowered productivity and motivation of your employees directly affect your revenue and your reputation and make marketing your firm harder than it has to be.
Please note, though, that just like depression is more than being sad, burnout is more than just being tired. It’s a systemic fatigue usually caused by a long-term absence of vision, diversity, goals, or extremely fuzzy processes in your practice.
Let’s see how we can address each of these.
Introduce mentoring and support systems
This will probably be an overkill for smaller teams – but you need to prepare for it as you grow. The first step to support and mentoring programs is to make sure all your SOPs and internal documentation are present, available, and updated.
Our document management module lets you have a designated location for all kinds of documents, so your employees stop getting lost in emails, messengers, and chaotic Google Docs.
Optimize and organize your work
Too many architecture firms scale their invoices and clients without scaling their processes and tools! Always be on the lookout for architecture productivity tools on the market and see how you can streamline your work.
Architectural project management software can come with many bells and whistles, but you need to make sure you cover the PM basics first. Every member of the team you onboard needs to internalize your project management culture and practices – it’s that important.
Make sure all the top architects in your company, especially with managerial duties, actually learn project management at some point.
As you grow, make sure it’s easy to work for you. We have created PlanMan specifically for growing teams that want to avoid employee burnout. Our team management module with permission groups and tasks will help your employees be focused without being overwhelmed.
Acknowledge and recognise talent!
Please don’t let your best workers go unrecognized. Do not assume people know you love their work – express it!
Design a system of bonuses and other perks. Make sure people see the result of their work – and praise them for it! Use your social media accounts to introduce your employees so they feel like a part of something larger than a list of tasks.
Encouraging and motivating your architectural employees with praise is a whole art in itself. A lot has been written on that – you can start with these articles on Architectural Digest or Easyrender will help get you started with that.
Offer people a clear picture
Your employees need to have a clear idea of where you are going as a company and what your plans are.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t make them come up with those ideas on their own – it’s something you have to offer, instil, and help internalize.
That’s where the mission, vision, and values of your architecture firm come in handy, so make sure you come up with these conceptual things as you grow.
Manage workload better
You may overload your best architects with work just because they do it so well. Make sure your work is spread evenly across your workers – and don’t miss the point when it’s time to hire more help!
The result of overloading your best architects is easy to predict – you eventually lose the professional you value so much. Talk to your employees often and see if they would like to move to a managerial position (some don’t, and that’s OK!)
If you want a specific starting point for your employee burnout prevention campaign – check out how we set up and organized PlanMan to get ideas and identify bottlenecks!