The FT article from 27th December “Law Firms open up to new trends with office moves” makes interesting reading.
I spend much of my time in City boardrooms with top law firms C Suite and Senior and Managing Partners discussing workplace and workforce trends.
As a specialist in providing services to professional service firms I start by understanding what drives any firm’s ‘economic engine’, as any workplace and its occupying workforce must be designed to enable this as efficiently as possible.
In most cases City law firm work is driven by advising or facilitating an opportunity or a crisis. By their nature the characteristics of ‘opportunity and crisis’ tend to be urgent, complex and valuable or costly (depending where you stand).
A buyer of a law firm service might be the General Counsel of a FTSE 250 business, an institution, an entrepreneur or a high net worth individual. All clients want the same customer experience: easy to deal with, responsive, trustworthy, capable and competent.
The dichotomy of the ‘professional service future workplace’ is you have a workforce that demands to be more flexible in terms of where and when they work and clients that demand 24 hour fee earner availability and a round the clock capability to act or react.
The challenge for the Director of Workplace is to squeeze the most value out of costly A Grade city space whilst maintaining a functioning, culturally engaging, secure and responsive environment. The past 7 years has seen wave after wave of adoptions: first open plan, to hot desk, to agile, to collegiate, to pod layout to We Work. Now it is the turn of ‘Proptech’ the digitisation of every aspect of the workplace.
However beyond all of these initiatives there remains one unaddressed workplace friction in the organisations that we help transform, simply put they are not ‘easy to deal with’.
The outcome of a flexible workforce in a hot desking environment is that your workforce can be anywhere, this combined with the proliferation and reliance of voice, messaging technologies and particularly voice mail has made people more difficult to get hold of and less responsive.
In the world of professional services where speed of reaction is ‘of the essence’ when a client calls it means they have consciously made a decision not to email, this is because their requirement is complex, urgent or valuable and the callers expectation is an immediate and capable person to speak to. Our research shows even the largest firms fail to handle the smooth transition of client calls into their complex organisations and lose a significant number of opportunities to competitors.
Finally the digitisation of the workplace offers major opportunities to drive efficiencies but only if the data, services and processes are properly leveraged and easily and expertly accessed. At ComXo we have created ‘The Workplace’ as a managed service, an expert, technology enabled, human layer sitting 24/7 above your complex organisation with integrated workplace data, FAQ, services and processes that can get things done anytime, anywhere for your workforce.
To see how we have achieved this for one of the UK’s largest professional service firms, click here to read the case study.
The workplace is no longer a place, it is a holistic ecosystem that supports, enables and facilitates the driving of your organisations economic engine making your firm easy to deal with, responsive, trustworthy, capable and competent.