Architects are notorious for working all of the time; perhaps a trait we are indoctrinated with at school, but one that doesn’t seem to go away once we start into practice. Maybe architects life related to the tortured architect’s desire for perfection because design never ends, and the only thing that stops it is a deadline imposed most likely by the client. Not only do architects work on weekends, but you’ll often find the lights on in an architect’s office late at night.
Working in architecture is intellectually challenging but physically comfortable, despite occasional long hours.
While the job is primarily desk-based, there may be a need to travel for site visits. However, architectural work can be stressful because of competing priorities and deadlines, and some architects feel they are not fairly compensated. Now that we are seemingly evolving into better humans, we find ourselves secretly troubled if we have to work outside of the 9 to 5 imposed as part of a 40-hour workweek that was developed as a reaction to unsafe and unfair working conditions at the latter part of the 19th century.
We tend to think that architects work as much as they do because there is no real stopping point to the work we create. We can always spend more time getting a superior product and have yet to meet an architect that doesn’t care about getting a superior product. In particular, this is true when architects are in the early stages of their careers – what they lack in experience, they make up for in time and effort.
How many days a week do architects work? | Architects life
Many architects’ standard working time is forty-hour per week. However, they must often change their schedules to meet deadlines. They may also work nights and weekends. Most self-employed architects work longer hours and often meet with clients after hours.
If you are a small firm leader or solo practitioner, you know that the responsibilities carried, cannot often be contained in the M-F time frame. Sometimes, Saturdays and/or Sundays are the only quiet days (when clients are enjoying their weekends) when certain tasks can be completed that cannot be accomplished during the weekdays of a modern-day office. Additionally, if you are an employee, you must solve this balance somehow.
How long do architects work in a day?
Architects’ contracted working hours are generally from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, / Monday to Saturday (or whatever the local norm is) but one may have to work long hours, including late nights and weekends when a project demands. In some organizations, part-time work and career breaks are possible, but they are rare. In practice, in the throes of a big project, one will probably be asked to work overtime either at the end of the day or on weekends.
Negotiating this issue will depend on the company’s policies, and the boss!
Do architects have to work long hours?
Architects typically work in comfortable offices, spending most of their days designing structures, developing plans, and meeting with clients. Architects do work longer than 40 hour weeks, often working extra hours and weekends to meet deadlines.
One may be able to work for much longer, maybe keen to work longer, and may dream of becoming an associate or one day a director, but at the same time, one is contributing to an exploitative and exclusive work environment. Several unique conditions and abundant false logic leave young architects exposed to exploitation. Perhaps it’s our left-of-center university indoctrination to be egalitarian, generous, and servants of society and the city. Could it be that ‘all-nighters’ are considered the norm and time management is seen as the enemy of creativity at university? It might be the illusion that one must suffer for one’s art. Is it merely the need to conform to an office culture?
The periods of economic and employment uncertainty which prevail in the construction industry, and thus the architecture profession, have created a climate where it is necessary to demonstrate high dedication to retaining one’s job. Many mention working at home in the evenings and at weekends to feel they can keep up with the workload.
Conclusion | Architects life
There is a strange unspoken, yet ubiquitous, competitiveness within architectural offices. Who will leave first? Who has put in the most hours? Who looks the busiest? Who gets along best with the boss? Whose time sheet is full of office hours and administrative duties?
Despite this, there is the belief that architecture is a profession that demands all or nothing. We are even led to believe that we are working in an industry whose margins are so tight that its very survival is reliant on the donated time of architectural employees. It is time for architectural work practices to mature. It’s time we stop deluding ourselves that architectural employees are anything other than exploited laborers today.