“Our whole working practice has changed”: NFA Architects' Farnell reflects on Covid-19 pandemic

Published by Scott Challinor on August 7th 2021, 2:02pm

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a fundamental shift in the way that people work across multiple industry sectors. While there are many who will need to return to their workplaces or already have since restrictions have been lifted in England, it is uncertain as to whether some traditional office roles will ever revert to the pre-pandemic norm.

One example of a firm that has seen its whole set of working practices altered during the previous 16 months is NFA Architects, an established and experienced residential and commercial architectural practice that was based in Thanet, Kent.

With lockdown periods and social restrictions requiring individuals to work from home where possible for lengthy spells, NFA Architects’ design director Nick Farnell, revealed that the firm opted to give up its main office in Kent to cut back on financial outgoings.

Farnell told The Parliamentary Review: “Since the pandemic arrived it has changed our whole working practice including how we interact with consultants, team members and clients. Add to this the volatile fiscal uncertainty of our business sector leads us to rethink how to cope for now and in the future.

“To economise and to be safe we have given up our main office in Kent and the team for a period was working from home and meeting in pairs when absolutely necessary.”

Before social restrictions were lifted in England under the government’s roadmap out of the lockdown, the company opted to take on a small office space in the Sloane Square area of central London, to ensure that a space to meet with clients was maintained through the crisis.

“We predominantly serve central London, so the Sloane Square office space enabled us to meet clients close to where they reside in a safe environment if necessary”, Farnell explained.

However, some positives did come out of the pandemic for Farnell and his team. The firm was first and foremost boosted by the government’s unprecedented business protection initiatives from early on in the crisis, and the level of digital transformation seen across industry over recent months provided the ideal opportunity for NFA Architects to invest in their website and increasing their business presence online.

Farnell said: “The government’s funding initiatives were extraordinary and unexpected and without these measures we would have struggled and had to reduce our staffing levels. We have worked hard throughout this pandemic to ensure buildings are completed and to find new projects and clients.

“We have also taken this time to completely revise our website and are taking the opportunity to increase our web presence utilising a digital media company.”

While the trajectory of the pandemic remains unclear as the UK edges toward the autumn, Farnell believes that his business has shown its ability to pivot over a challenging year, providing reason for much optimism that it will continue to adapt in the future to whatever difficulties may arise.

“The future is uncertain, but we are proving to be quite adaptable in this extraordinary time”, he said.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
August 7th 2021, 2:02pm

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