Back to work… and law firm unveils its ‘new normal’

Aug 03, 2020

Robin Webb, head of Shoosmiths in Milton Keynes.

LAW firm Shoosmiths reopens its office in Central Milton Keynes today (Monday August 3), with a new way of working – giving colleagues more choice to make their own decisions on where and when they work.

This is just one of the four key working principles set up by Shoosmiths, which is implementing an ‘output not occupancy’ ethos, with technology taking precedence over floorspace.

The new way of working has been shaped in part by the firm’s response to the pandemic –adopting even more home-based working and providing colleagues with the necessary equipment within a week. 

The office at 100 Avebury Boulevard is reopening on a Covid-19 Secure basis, with a two-metre social distancing rule and a strict and limited number of people allowed at any location at one time (as well as a three-day notice-period for any attendance).

Its Birmingham office is also trialing a new software system developed in-house, called Basecamp, which allows colleagues to book a desk, parking and other facilities.

100 Avebury Boulevard, home of law firm Shoosmiths.

Robin Webb, the firm’s head of Milton Keynes, said: “The pandemic has brought about a seismic shift in how we work and we have adapted to this with enhanced agility. It is not a case of going back to the old ways of working – we have chosen to embrace the change and do things differently and build on everything we’ve learned over the past few months. 

“I am incredibly proud of how we have adapted as a firm, from the commitment and flexibility of our colleagues to the speed at which our IT team fast-forwarded our working from home ability. Our new ‘Your How’ principles build on all this good work, and more importantly, goodwill.

“We have taken the opportunity for a radical refresh of our talent proposition which we know will improve working life for our teams, aid our diversity and inclusion agenda, increase our talent pool and enhance our client offering. This is a game changer.”

The four working principles are:

  • Enhanced client experience

The key underlying principle is that client needs must continue to be met and the overall client experience enhanced.

  • Your ‘how’ 

Individual autonomy and responsibility underpin how Shoosmiths staff work. Managers do not impose their ‘how’ but account must be taken of supervision and development needs, as well as overall wellbeing.

  • The answer is ‘yes’

The assumption is that flexible working requests and/or working from home will be approved. The onus is now on the manager to make out a compelling business case as to why it cannot work at that time.

  • Output not occupancy

Shoosmiths is interested in output and performance not where or when people work. Use of tech takes precedence over use of floorspace.

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