New International HQ in London enables flexible working
Location: 1 Wood Street, London
Size: 8 Floors
IT & AV Budget: Undisclosed
Professional Team Members: Fletcher Priest, Woods Bagot
Eversheds is one of the world’s largest corporate law firms. Committed locally, but connected globally, with offices based in the world’s major economic centres, with a proven track record of delivering consistently high quality legal services across jurisdictions. The firm has developed organically over the past decade working for corporate organisations of all shapes and sizes in countries where they want to do business. Lawyers in all locations share the same values, ways of working and understanding of what clients really want. As a modern, progressive law firm, Eversheds sets itself apart through its people, culture and its attitude to change. Quality is a matter of personal pride to everyone and staff of the highest calibre are recruited and retained by the firm. Collaborative working and innovative thinking is encouraged and supported at all levels, meaning that clients enjoy an offering that is constantly evolving and improving to meet their changing needs.
As the UK’s largest legal practice (based on the number of fee-earners), Eversheds wanted to establish itself as the pre-eminent law firm within the City.
The decision to move to a new HQ was based on the need to give the firm an environment comparable with its City peers and the space to support the strategic growth plans associated with its anticipated rise in profile.
The new offices were intended to:
- reflect and encourage the culture of a friendly, non-hierarchical, collegiate and open firm
- reflect a client-centric focus by providing a first-class experience
- create a vibrant, healthy and sustainable workplace to retain and attract the best talent
- improve business efficiencies through the use of technologies and new ways of working
- provide a space that improves team working and collaboration while preserving the need for confidentiality and privacy.
Eversheds required the right technology and IT infrastructure to support the move from cellular offices to a new and more mobile ‘studio’ working style. Staff needed the freedom to move around when on voice calls and move to other areas or private meeting spaces easily.
Lawyers generally believe that if they’re not at their desk then they’re not charging hours to their client. So it was important that any new technologies to be installed at Eversheds’ HQ would support a shift in mindset as well as a more flexible style of working.
We were appointed to help Eversheds understand its space requirements, workspace use and styles and to provide integrated technology to support the partners, specialists and other staff.
We worked with the project design team, including interior architects Woods Bagot and the client steering committee, to analyse the firm’s culture and requirements. This allowed us to identify and review key IT and audio visual tools that would be appropriate for a 21st century law practice.
Based on our early workspace efficiency input, we were engaged to design and project manage the installation of IT and voice systems, personal IT devices, audio visual and video conference systems and other related technologies and personal technology devices.
Some of the investments include:
- flood wiring using high and low-level structured wiring grids
- top quality audio visual and video conferencing facilities
- a blanket wireless network including support for internal mobile phone technology
- all staff were given unified messaging (the integration of all forms of electronic communications – email voicemail, fax, SMS, video etc) plus instant messaging
- laptops and wireless Bluetooth headsets to make fee earners fully mobile and prepared for ‘anywhere working’
- 3G Blackberry handsets to reduce response time and increase billable hours through 24/7 contact with clients
This combination of advanced technology allowed the lawyers to make good use of the ‘third spaces’ in the office, including assembling and relocating to team areas while remaining connected to clients.
The results were extremely positive. Despite initial reservations from some partners within Eversheds, the new technology and space attracted positive comment from the vast majority.
Of particular note is the freedom the new wireless headsets provided lawyers when on conference calls, with high audio quality, minimal noise pollution and the ability to move to a private room when necessary.
Pink noise sound suppression has also added a calmness to the working floors while high quality but discreet audio visual and video conferencing solutions provided the meeting suite with a selection of meeting styles.
Blanket wireless coverage provides connectivity to internal information from anywhere via laptop or other devices and a Guest Wireless Network allows clients to connect to the internet without compromising the integrity of the firm’s network or data.
We designed a cabled infrastructure which would enable future changes and new technologies to be installed without major disruption.
The completed offices were nominated for the 2009 BCO awards for Best Commercial Office Space.