Law Firms Slowly Warming to Non-Traditional Workplaces
The legal sector, a field with one of the most traditionally conservative workplace cultures, is slowly warming to the idea of right-sizing real estate footprints through eliminating costly private offices and sparsely used law libraries. Telecommuting is also a growing trend among attorneys; according to a recent telework study of 2010 US Census data, lawyers are one of the fastest growing groups of teleworkers.
The study notes that while the percentage of attorneys telecommuting is up 166%, a mere 2% of lawyers are teleworkers. This speaks greatly to the generally reactionary nature of the legal sector. The physical work environment is also beginning to change. An article appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Law Firms Remodel Offices to Cut Costs, Improve Cooperation, shedding some light on how the tide is slowly turning with law firms embracing alternative workplace solutions. According to Matthew Barlow of Studley, many individual offices have shrunk by up to 25%, while some firms have done away with corner offices completely, instead transforming the areas into meeting spaces. In Holland & Knight’s Washington office, for example, private offices were moved to the middle of a floor, with a focus on enticing, collaborative space elsewhere.
With collections low, rents high, and space utilization less than optimal with attorneys constantly on the go, many managing partners find themselves in a predicament. Reassessing the firm’s physical space footprint is an obvious route to addressing this problem, but in a don’t-rock-the-boat culture of big egos, any proposed changes to the physical work environment are sure to be met with high resistance. How can managing partners maintain firm stability while still reaping the financial benefits of this low-hanging fruit?
Stegmeier Consulting Group’s expertise in helping organizations overcome resistance to changes in the workplace has been sought by clients around the globe. Specializing specifically in change management for the workplace, we can help with:
- Building and presenting the business case for essential changes
- Educating leadership on the why and the how
- Risk mitigation
- Mobility assessment/preparedness
- Pre-change surveys to establish baseline metrics, post-change surveys to gauge on-going concerns
- Live or remote training for both timekeepers and staff, employees and managers
- Interactive e-learning video solutions, branded with your firm’s logo, initiative, and green-screened with your physical work environment
- Change communications pieces and strategy
- On-going, remote consultation
If you’re considering drastic or minor changes in your organization, I’d encourage you to get in touch with us. We’d love to partner with your firm and help you revamp your workforce.
Prior to joining Stegmeier Consulting Group, Matthew Stegmeier spent 5 years with Squire Sanders LLP in their business headquarters, working in Finance and Human Resources.
Stegmeier Consulting Group is a globally-recognized leader in workplace change management, known for helping organizations effectively implement telework programs and other alternative workplace strategies, and Matthew has been instrumental in applying SCG’s best practices and proprietary Critical Influence methodology to clients’ mobility, flex work, shared-space environments, and other alternative workplace strategies. He is a graduate of Miami University’s Richard T. Farmer School of Business and co-author of the forthcoming book, CAVE People in the Workplace: Managing Citizens Against Virtually Everything.