Technology and new ways of working are making people better, faster and stronger.
Technology streamlines workflows, enhances performance and provides extraordinary solutions. Businesses across all sectors have long since adapted to this technological revolution and are continually embracing the seemingly infinite ways of working a fully connected workplace supports.
Agile, flexible and collaborative workplaces are increasingly common requests from our clients seeking workplace savoir-faire. Today, 95% of companies in Europe say their organisation practices agile working in some form, and less than 1% have experienced failure. But despite all this, there remains one sector that has resisted the workplace revolution.
The legal profession have held steadfast to their traditions, maintaining that the nature of their work prevents them from embracing technology and a more flexible approach to work.
However, change is afoot.
Legal City giants have been tentatively moving towards agile working over the last five years, and an increasing number of legal firms are beginning to see the potential benefits, for both clients and staff, of embracing newer ways of working. So, what exactly are the objectives of these new working practices? How are they achieved? And, most importantly, what are the benefits?
Agility and flexibility
Flexibility is often the fundamental goal. Giving lawyers the freedom to adapt their working practices allows them to optimise their time management. When people are able to achieve a better work/life balance, their productivity increases, and so they are of greater value to their business.
The right working environment and optimal technology are key to achieving a successful approach to agile working. The ideal environment should enable lawyers to work together on relevant tasks, thereby increasing communication, improving teamwork and building a more collaborative working culture. The most suitable and effective technology should enable lawyers to work when and where it is most efficient to do so: at home, on the move, at the client’s premises, or wherever is best suited to achieving the client’s objectives.
Whilst the benefits of embracing agility and flexibility are vast, the rewards will vary from firm to firm. There are some common advantages all our clients have gained from their transition to agile working.
Firstly, environments become livelier – company culture improves, teams work more closely together, and efficiency increases. This then benefits all areas of the business, and with a happier, more effective workforce, tasks are carried out more effectively.
Another shared benefit is a reduction in real estate costs. With efficient use of expensive spaces, we can exceed the number of people to the number of desks and save furniture costs.
From our legal client’s perspective, the flexibility open plan provides has had the most significant impact on their business. Remote working and the right technology allows constant accessibility. Work is no longer rigidly governed by time and place. Flexibility enables people to work to their optimal potential, whether in or out of the office. The ability to easily move desks allows client or transaction specific groups to work closely together for set periods of time.
“The direction of travel seems obvious and inexorable. Those that are prepared to embrace it may just find that they have found that elusive goal – a competitive advantage.”
Martin Arnold, Managing Director
Our client Wedlake Bell is among those leading the way. Having recently announced their move from Bedford Row to 71 Queen Victoria Street, Wedlake Bell will soon be located on a single open plan floor. Working closely with their appointed move team, we have created a design plan to support and encourage all forms of working.