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Ten Effective Ways to Optimize Office Space Utilization

For nearly two decades, law firms have been consolidating office space and maximizing efficiency, but following the year of COVID-19, many have accelerated those efforts, evaluating how to reduce their office space footprint while supporting productivity. With some employees remaining in a part-time work-from-home arrangement and many expecting an increased level of flexibility from their employers, how are law firms boosting efficiency and keeping everyone safe?

 

In a recent white paper, we asked Office Movers Express General Manager Jim Durfee to help answer this very question. As part of that discussion, he identified ten of the most effective ways to optimize office space for a law firm. Let’s take a closer look…

Example Office Space

1. Ask The Right Questions

There are no hard and fast answers to office optimization. So it’s important to start by asking key questions about how you currently use your space. Common questions to consider include:

2. Move Storage Rooms to the Basement

Storage rooms of all kinds are moving to the basement or being removed entirely. This includes supplies, mail and mail supplies, and storage for other materials that may not be needed on a regular basis. Evaluate how the current space in your office is being used, and if a room is frequently unused, empty, or out-of-date due to technology improvements, consider whether it can be moved or eliminated.

 

3. Equalize Office Sizes

Rooms used to be designed to indicate who was in charge. If you entered an office space, you knew who the boss was based on the size of the offices. That’s less the case as many offices have focused on equalizing office sizes to avoid inefficiencies. While this will depend on the structure and culture of your firm, eliminating unused space in large offices can help improve efficiency dramatically.

 

4. Address Persistent IT Closets

IT closets remain a persistent challenge in many firms. The parts and materials needed by IT need to remain on-site, but it can create excess clutter. Some firms are addressing this by moving the supplies to the basement or coordinating with off-site providers to get parts and supplies on-demand.

 

5. Remove Enormous Conference Table

The conference table itself is an inefficient use of space, taking up entire rooms, often in windowed corners of the floor. Smaller conference rooms, open collaboration spaces, and meeting hubs are being implemented to offer those meeting options in the form they are most likely to be used.

 

6. Reconsider Massive Paintings and Art Installations

Paintings and art installations are still common on many law firms, representing the taste and aesthetic of the firm, but many of the open, welcoming spaces in which they might have been displayed in the past are being removed. Consider whether current installations and paintings are necessary.

 

7. Install Glass Boards

Interactive glass boards are being installed to replace whiteboards and make for a more efficient space for groups to collaborate. Rolling whiteboards and blackboards are far less common, as glass boards are a more efficient use of space.

 

8. Consider TV and Screen Placement

Hanging screens, large TVs, and monitors are decreasingly common as people can participate in meetings or watch training sessions on their own monitors via conference software. That said, there are more frequently TVs mounted in shared spaces for collaboration.

 

9. Support Work from Home Initiatives

With the majority of workers saying they get more done at home, and COVID-19 resetting our relationship with remote work in general, consider the benefits of supporting a work-from-home initiative for your employees when it makes sense. Upgrades to networks to support secure access at home, productivity tools, and open office places that support people spending time in the office when necessary can reduce the total amount of space needed without impacting productivity.

 

10. Measure People Not Space

Supplemental to shifting work patterns, work within the trends currently sweeping through modern offices. Open floor plans are being replaced with flexible floor plans that focus on the space people need when they need it. Forget about a certain amount of square footage per person, and consider the way in which those people will use the space.

This means, of course, that how much space you need will depend on your firm. It requires a more proactive approach to the way in which you optimize that space. Different types of workstations for different tasks and types of employees are needed. “Quiet areas for focused work, open space for robust collaboration, booths for hushed conversations, and phone booths or pods for private conversations are increasingly common for this reason. You may even consider an elastic office model or coworking supplement to scale your workspace as needed.”

 

Getting the Most from Your Office Space

Whether you are restructuring following the impact of COVID-19 or have been actively optimizing office space for several years, it’s important to maximize efficiency in ways that will reduce costs and support employee productivity.

Learn more from Jim’s take on office efficiency optimization in 2021 in our white paper, Maximizing Office Efficiency Post-Covid. Download a copy here.

*To download our full office space optimization guide, click here

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Customer Reviews

Paula C. July 2021

Sidley
"I wanted to let you know your move team is amazing! They are the quickest, neatest and quietist team I have ever worked with. Every time I go to follow up with them, they are already an office ahead of me. I’m very impressed with everything they have done today."

Johnathan L. July 2021

RER Solutions, Inc.
"The crew you sent was excellent! They were so efficient, polite and professional that in the future when I need these services, you will be the first call!"

Britanie T. June 2021

Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt LLC
"I just wanted to mention how great your movers were today. They were all excellent, very friendly, FAST, and helpful! We will definitely be using your services again in a month or two once our second renovation is complete. Thank you!"

Katie D. May 2021

USUHS
"I was very happy with our move. Your crew was on time, efficient, and very careful when wrapping and moving the equipment. The process to get on base took some time and they were understanding and patient throughout the whole process. Thanks again for everything, I will definitely recommend OMX to any colleagues in need of moving services!"

Debbie K. May 2021

Varanko & Black
"The crew did a great job and really made our fast, crazy move bearable for me. They put everything in it's place beautifully. I can't thank them enough!"

Rachel S. May 2021

Allen & Overy
"Our move went really well. Dennis and the team did a great job and worked well together. I was impressed with how quickly and efficiently they were working through the project and had no issues throughout the three days that they were on site. Another successful project – thank you!"

Beth F. May 2021

Robbins Russell
"The movers were timely, professional, and careful in handling everything. I was very pleased. A very pleasant experience, thank you!"

Kyle A. March 2021

Smithsonian Institute
"Your team was great! We had no problems or concerns with the work done and will absolutely be giving you another call for future needs."

Theresa P. March 2021

OU Advocacy Center
"I wanted to share my utmost gratitude for DK and his team members who adhered to my every request. He consistently checked in with me to make sure the office furniture was in the proper place and if not, he and his team immediately repositioned the item. Their professionalism and attentiveness is to be commended. They made sure everything was in place and cleaned from both the move out location to the new location. Thank you so much!"

Candance G. February 2021

Aren't Fox
"The move was great because of the great team you sent over. They were very pleasant, professional, as well as very patient. They wound up having to stay longer than anticipated and move things around, and they never blinked. Thanks again. Looking forward to working with OMX again."
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