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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 Evaluate how the current space in your office is being used, and if a room is frequently unused, empty, or out-of-date due to technology improvements, consider whether it can be moved or eliminated.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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Kay K. December 2021

Barbara Bush Foundation
"I wanted to thank you for sending a great group of men to move us – they were wonderful!"

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Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers
"I wanted to compliment the crew that you sent to handle our move. The project manager, supervisor and the entire crew did a great job. They were all a pleasure to work with. The team leads kept us informed during the entire process. Every single member of the crew was very respectful, courteous and polite throughout the move. The group worked extremely well with each other and us to address the few curveballs that the space threw at us as far as getting things to fit in some tight areas. Requests to move certain items after they had already been set in place were happily accommodated without any reluctance. The entire crew should be commended."

Mary H. December 2021

American College Health Association
"I can’t say enough about how wonderful the team from OMX was to work with. Every single person involved in the move was helpful, professional, kind, and patient – even when I didn’t have answers to questions that I should have. There were many times throughout our three days together that frustration could have taken over, but the OMX team was always calm and willing to troubleshoot a solution to an unexpected challenge. This is our second move with OMX and I wouldn’t want to do another move without them. A big thank you to your wonderful crew – they’re the best!"

Michael B. November 2021

Law Offices of Brown & Brown
"Everything went great. My coworkers and I were very impressed with the speed, efficiency, and care that was shown by the OMX moving crew."

Midhat P. September 2021

District Capital Partners
"Our move yesterday was great! I don’t think many people can say that about a move but the guys were efficient, communicative, polite, and all around awesome. I really appreciate you making this a smooth process."

Jonathan A. September 2021

Orrick
"Thank you very much for the great service your team provided. We were changing plans and re-thinking things and your team helped us find solutions. Looking forward to working with you again!"

Tom K. September 2021

Visit Alexandria
"I wanted to let you know what a great job your crew did yesterday. Just really warm, helpful and efficient. The move went smoothly on both ends and they even added an extra stop for us when requested, and helped our CEO rearrange her office to accommodate a piece of furniture that initially seemed not to fit. Just a great experience all around. I will definitely recommend OMX to others. Well done and thanks!"

George H. September 2021

Mission Square Retirement
"I want to send a special thank you to the entire OMX team. I truly value all of your hard work and excellent customer service! You guys are always willing to go above and beyond. I look forward to having your team back onsite very soon."

Jennifer A. September 2021

Hogan Lovells
"I’ve managed countless moves for Hogan Lovells and this was one of the smoothest moves, if not the smoothest move I have ever been involved with. Trust was the most important factor for choosing OMX. There were a lot of moving parts to our move (things to dispose of, other things to be donated) and OMX handled all of this accurately and easily."

David M. August 2021

US Dept. of Homeland Security
"I have to say your OMX team was unbelievable. They were professional, responsive, hard-working, and above all, they were the best. All of my personnel were grateful for your team’s work. I would highly recommend your company to any agency that has to move. Thank you again."
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