Practice Management


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The Practice Management Knowledge Community (PMKC) identifies and develops information on the business of architecture for use by the profession to maintain and improve the quality of the professional and business environment.  The PMKC initiates programs, provides content and serves as a resource to other knowledge communities, and acts as experts on AIA Institute programs and policies that pertain to a wide variety of business practices and trends.

AIA Practice Management Digest - May 2021

By Karen O. Courtney AIA posted 05-06-2021 05:50 PM


Navigating today’s new normal in practice

How are firms navigating a return to the office—or changing their practices long-term to embrace virtual practice?


Letter from the editor

By Karen Courtney, FSMPS, AIA

Karen O. Courtney headshot


The month of May is one of new beginnings with spring growth emerging and warmer temperatures awakening us from a long winter. Much like the environment, the PM Digest is also reemerging after a year’s hiatus due to COVID-19. The last published issue was in March 2020 right before “normal” life halted, and we all learned to deal with the pandemic both personally and professionally. Now with vaccines available, it is time to consider what future practices in an ongoing pandemic will look like and how to get there.

This first PM Digest issue of 2021 is devoted to a compendium of articles to help firms navigate the “new normal” as many architects return to the office either totally or partially and/or adopt a hybrid approach with remote and in-person work options. The leading article by Ann Casso, Hon. AIA, of the AIA Trust shares findings from industry surveys about the concerns and options involved in going back to the office. Insights from small, medium and large firms are given to learn from their experiences and decide what works best in your firm’s situation.

Having worked remotely since 2018, author Craig Park, Assoc. AIA, of NV5 challenges firms to look to the future with a new hyflex workplace approach to practice. With practical advice on how to achieve this new work paradigm, he offers both technical resources and ideas from other industries that architects can apply to their practices. And lastly, the legal perspective on requiring vaccination of employees returning to the office is shared by the AIA’s interim general counsel, Terrence Ona, Esq.

As the new editor of the PM Digest, I hope to provide readers with insights, information and resources in future PM Digest issues to help strengthen and grow your practices in 2021 and beyond. Anticipated upcoming issues will cover the AIA Fellowship process, innovative practice structure and implementation, career path discovery and insight, as well as the perennial favorite of how to get more business for your firm. If you have perspectives to share on any of these topics or others related to practice management, please contact me or the AIA so we can work with you on an article.

To new beginnings….


The return to offices
By Ann Casso, Hon. AIA

How are firms responding to changing hazard levels, travel considerations, concerns for employee safety, and a disrupted market? The Reopening the World’s Workplaces report shares responses from multiple firms, with a common theme of flexibility. Continue reading with four more resources for those who want to dive deeper, from Perkins & Will, Cameron MacAllister Group, Bala Consulting Engineers, and ASHRAE.

A look to the future: Designing the hyflex workplace
By Craig E. Park, Assoc. AIA

No sector has been immune to the changes caused by the pandemic, with resilience, flexibility, and elasticity becoming crucial skills to utilize. After a year of changes, many firms are giving serious thought to the future of the workplace—including accommodations for a workforce increasingly made up of both in-person and remote staff. What should you consider when designing workspaces in your own firm—and for your clients?

Can firms require employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19?
By Terrence Ona, Esq.

Can employers require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to the office? In short, yes. However, be sure to understand how the law operates in this area.


Further reading and resources

The AIA Trust - Check out the Pandemic Risk Management Assistance section

June 23 at 12pm Eastern: How Hybrid Are You? A Frank Consideration of Your Post-Pandemic Workplace | webinar, 1 LU HSW


Contribute to the Digest

The future issues of the Practice Management Digest are currently planned to cover topics such as the AIA Fellowship process, innovative practice structure and implementation, career path discovery and insight, as well as the perennial favorite of how to get more business for your firm. If you have other topics related to practice management that you’d like explored or any articles you would like us to consider for inclusion, please contact