TZL 1479 (web)



A new firm culture

We have an opportunity to reset our company cultures in a way that recognizes adaptability, while prioritizing the ways in which our people want to work and live.

I n many ways, the pandemic brought us collectively to our knees, both personally and professionally. As we begin to stand back up, it is critical that we rise with intention – assess what’s been broken, what should be left behind, what needs to be reclaimed, what’s been preserved, and what’s been eroded by three years of uncertainty that needs to be rebuilt. For many of us, that includes our firm culture.

Jodie Quinter, AIA

While the concept has varied meaning, fundamentally, firm culture includes the systems, behaviors, and values that shape how work gets done. It is the patterns upon which a staff understands how to operate in an organization aimed at producing exemplary work alongside fostering fruitful careers devoid of frustration and rich in personal growth and development. At its essence, firm culture is the atmosphere we work within – a company climate. An environment that seems to be revealing the same variability as the actual weather in the post-COVID era. To put it bluntly, we can’t just go back to the way things were and we should stop using that language.

That notion fails to acknowledge that the world has fundamentally changed – that people, our workforce, are forever changed. Admittedly, entertaining this mindset leaves a lot of people feeling frustrated that we can’t just pick up where we left off. But to move forward, we must acknowledge that “back to normal” is an elusive and impossible goal – the exact reason many of us are finding ourselves caught in a reckoning of sorts, realizing the tension of trying to fit a picture of what was onto a future landscape that won’t support it anymore.



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