In the wake of the pandemic, law firms underwent a transformative shift in how they worked, and this is now playing out in the design of their new offices, steering toward a hybrid working model.
The traditional, rigid structures are giving way to more flexible and collaborative spaces that cater to the evolving needs of attorneys. This shift is not only a response to the experiences of remote work during the pandemic but also a strategic move to attract teams back to the office in a meaningful way.
We’re seeing office occupancy increase when employees know that their social peers, colleagues and support team members are in the office. Having the right tools to aid visibility of who is in the office and when can nearly double office attendance at law firms.
Embracing Hybrid Work with Purpose
Law firms are moving away from the demotivating mandates and are opting for approaches with more autonomy for attorneys, prioritizing flexibility and collaboration. A "wait and see" strategy is now being replaced by proactive approaches, as firms collaborate with experts like CRUX Workplace to craft unique solutions tailored to their firms working practices, needs and goals.
Technology as the Cornerstone of Change
As law firms redefine their office spaces, technology emerges as a cornerstone of change. The adoption of new technology is crucial for facilitating hybrid work successfully. The use of presence technology, allowing advance planning of office attendance through transparency of who is in when, along with advanced AV equipment, and adaptable furniture is becoming integral to creating an environment that supports both in-person and virtual interactions.
Steps for a Successful Law Firm Implementation
Implementing a successful hybrid working model requires careful planning and consideration. Here are key steps for law firms looking to navigate this transition effectively:
1. Prioritize Culture and Collaboration
- Redefine office culture to prioritize collaboration and connection by engaging widely with employees. Design spaces through co-creation that encourage spontaneous interactions and mentorship, through shared worksettings. No one size fits all, so consider various options for attendance; for instance support staff may be able to work from home significantly more than others who need to meet in person.
2. Embrace Flexibility in Office Design
- Shift from a “me-centric” approach to a “we-centric” one by reducing private office sizes and quantities. Create more collaborative space types, such as technology-enabled meeting rooms and client spaces, informal and formal collaboration spaces.
3. Leverage Technology for Collaboration
- Embrace technology that fosters collaboration and flexibility. Utilize presence technology to inform employees about who is in the office, where they are, and for how long. Outfit meeting rooms with adaptable furniture and advanced AV equipment to support both in-person and virtual interactions.
4. Introduce Shared Worksetting (hoteling) Policies
- Overcome hesitancy by implementing realistic policies that make it easy to use the office. Allow employees the chance to work in the office when needed, fostering real connections and relationship-building. Consider changes in how square footage is linked to seniority and reallocated to facilitate a more flexible workspace.
5. Integrate Concierge Services for a Seamless Experience
- Overcome challenges related to shared spaces by incorporating next-generation concierge services. These services can customize the office experience to attorneys' preferences, ensuring a seamless and favorable environment. Learn from other industries that have successfully used concierge services to draw employees back to the office and build a sense of community.
In conclusion, the evolving design of law firm offices reflects a commitment to flexibility, collaboration, and a purposeful approach to hybrid working. By embracing technology, prioritizing culture, and implementing strategic changes to the new office design, law firms can create environments that not only meet the demands of the present but also lay the foundation for a successful and dynamic future.
At CRUX Workplace we would love to provide you with fresh ideas, insights, and optimization strategies to take what you are currently doing to the next level.