Before this year’s stay-at-home orders, temporary business closures, work stop orders, and other disruptions to life and work came into effect, landscape architects tended to seek out business advice and answers to practice-related questions from an array of sources, from colleagues to mentors to certain key books. To ensure members can locate all of ASLA’s business-related offerings in one place, our Professional Practice Committee developed the Business Toolkit last year. Since then, new content has been added—including recorded webinars on QuickBooks for small business owners and the recently released Construction Contract Administration Guidelines—and the Business Toolkit, along with ASLA’s COVID-19 Resources page, with its dedicated Business Resources section, will continue to grow and evolve as additional resources are developed.
Speaking to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks, we’ve heard about a full spectrum of impacts to business so far. One member used downtime while projects were stopped to complete a long-delayed website revamp; another transformed a lay-off into an opportunity to explore self-employment. While some projects may be on hold, other project timelines have accelerated and some landscape architects are busier than ever, even if that now means all-day back-to-back virtual meetings from assorted home workspaces. Landscape Architecture Magazine readers have been getting a similarly kaleidoscopic perspective on how practicing landscape architecture has changed over the past few months. The effects have varied widely depending on the practice area focus, city or region, and from week to week.
We’ve seen firms, universities, local organizations, and various collectives come together to share ideas and resources (see Interface Studio’s Ideas for Small Business Support During COVID-19 for just one example). While the focus in March was transitioning to remote work and keeping communications going among project team members and with clients and other project stakeholders, priorities will continue to shift as the business landscape continues to change. Many landscape architects have had to master sketching via Zoom annotations or a virtual whiteboard like Miro; as the year progresses, we’ll see what other moves may be needed to best adapt to an ever-changing present. ASLA, the Professional Practice Committee, and other ASLA member communities will continue their focus on resources to support members’ businesses and practice. Stay tuned as we see what new tools may be needed to keep landscape architecture businesses going, through periods of uncertainty and on to what comes next.