As companies return to the office, many execs are faced with the daunting task of determining what if any changes to make to their office attendance strategy:  

  1. What is our permanent remote work policy?
  2. How do we motivate employees to come into the office?
  3. Should we move to unassigned seating?
  4. Will we need to redesign for a more collaborative workplace?
  5. How should these decisions impact existing real estate obligations and projects?

Your initial reaction may not be the best.  Consider that according to PwC, over half of your staff prefer a relaxed remote work policy with office attendance only two days per week AND you will be competing for labor with firms that have a Hybrid Workforce Strategy that will both expand their labor pool and appeal to those that prefer remote.

More than half of the 106 CFO’s of firms over $50MM in the  latest FL Institute of CFO’s survey have either hired remote staff or are considering it:

This is smart because it builds flexibility and resiliency.  

It will also affect the design of the corporate office.  Office space historically has never quite been a commodity that could be occupied with indifference to layout, location or quality.  Think of the difference between a law firm and a call center as two examples of the extreme ends of a design spectrum.  

That being said, you could probably take any AmLaw firm HQ and place any other AmLaw firm in that space and they could make it work without much functional disadvantage.  However, in the middle of that design spectrum is a near equal mix of private offices or meeting rooms and open cubicle areas that could be easily adapted by financial, accounting, insurance, marketing, or other professional service firms.

That’s going to change.  There is no “One Size Fits All”.  

Like compound interest, the answers to each of those questions will build upon each other to create a unique office profile that will fit that particular company’s corporate identity and functional objectives.

It is possible to:

  • Have a remote work policy that maximizes both productivity and staff satisfaction.
  • Create an exciting workplace that staff enjoy and want to utilize.
  • Provide an open seating strategy that allows staff freedom to move around based on functional need.
  • Design areas that anticipate increased collaboration and encourage interaction.
  • Take action to integrate these strategies into existing offices and projects underway.

For those of you eying that 16% “Other” response, only 6% are not hiring remote.  The others generally qualified remote hiring based on compliance or tax issues and a few mentioned that they have retained existing staff that have now moved out of state.

If your firm wants to make the transition and you’d like to see the Hybrid Work Strategy framework that we use to walk companies through the critical considerations, just ping me at wb@avocatgroup.com.