How open plan offices can benefit the legal sector
The 2018 CBRE Law in London report stated; ‘Of the firms surveyed, 67% remain in primarily or entirely cellular configured offices. The remainder have an open plan configuration with 7% adopting activity-based working to respond to the differing work environments required by lawyers.’
As we embark on an office move at the end of the month and as more companies, including law firms, are moving towards a more agile working space, we thought we’d share the top reasons why an open plan office space could work for your firm.
A physical manifestation of a modern approach
Here at LR legal we pride ourselves on being forward-thinking, embracing new processes and technologies to improve the way we work and working collaboratively as a team, so it would make no sense if our office space was dated, boxed off and dark. Our new office space, whilst it has quieter areas to take phone calls, have confidential talks and hold meetings, it is well lit, airy, people can easily work together and it embodies our modern style of working.
A team atmosphere and a collaborative approach
Sharing knowledge, discussing ideas and offering support is all much easier when you can physically see and engage with other team members. Having everyone in the same space encourages a sense of camaraderie and from a manager’s perspective, it allows an insight into how the team work best, and to be able to acknowledge any struggles or problems the team may have.
Attracting and retaining talent
The presentation of your office speaks volumes about how you treat your staff, and an applicant will be looking for clues of how they may be treated as an employee when they come to interview with you as a candidate. A clean, open environment of teams working together can be much more appealing than people squirrelled away in small walled offices, working alone and in silence. A modern approach to office set-up also indicates a firm that is flexible, current and developing – all positive signs to the millennial generation your firm wants to attract.
Better budget spend
A particularly obvious point but an important one to make, ultimately an open plan office set up saves you space, which reduces your rent costs and saves the firm money, funds which can be better used for business development or on client care and retention.
Of course, these are all on the caveat that your company culture allows for an open plan environment. Some firms will have solicitors who enjoy working in relative silence and would resent having that taken away from them. Perhaps your firm deals with highly sensitive matters which require a secluded space for advice to be given, either in person or on the phone. You should also be conscious that some employees are actively working towards their own office and wouldn’t like to be kept in the main office space once they’ve reached Partner level.
These are important and valid points which are just the start of long journey to move towards a more accessible, open working space, but as firms develop and grow, a journey worth starting sooner rather than later.