"Claremont understood the optimal combination of people, space, technology and furniture needed to deliver a workspace that best supports our people in the work they do and were able to deliver it to a high standard within the required timescale." Simon Taylor, Head of Estates
Shoosmiths is a full service national UK law firm famous for its commitment to outstanding client service. The firm took advantage of a lease break on its existing Southampton office in Russell House to reassess the suitability of the space for its business performance, and as a result chose to move its people to a new location in the nearby Forum 5 building. Having worked with the leading law firm over a number of years and a breadth of locations across the UK, Claremont was chosen to help Shoosmiths realise its vision for its new office.
Shoosmiths’ brief to Claremont for the new office required a smarter use of space, and a requirement to improve communication and collaboration between its various teams. Claremont had already helped the firm to adopt an agile way of working in other locations, most notably in its Thames Valley headquarters, and the brief asked for this new way of working to be implemented in the Forum 5 office as well.
The firm wanted a workspace that would reflect its brand as a progressive, modern law firm. The client suite needed to make a strong impression with visiting clients, while the open plan office needed to help the firm to attract and retain the best talent, by providing an engaging work environment that its people could feel proud of.
Claremont began by conducting an agile audit and an in-depth storage audit to gain a comprehensive understanding of the specific workplace needs of Shoosmiths’ Southampton team.
The move from Russell Square to Forum 5 meant combining teams from 3 separate floors onto a single floorplate, which required a radical rethink of the office layout and a rationalisation of the firm’s use of space. The results of the initial workplace consultancy phase of the project provided the data needed to eliminate unproductive space, while ensuring Shoosmiths’ teams were optimally supported in the new space.
The resulting scheme is laid out around a central hub called the Town Square, which serves as a focal point for the office, a place to hold company-wide meetings and presentations, and an informal third space to enable the different teams in the office to meet and collaborate in an informal setting.
The main open plan work area adopts the same agile working approach that Shoosmiths previously implemented in its Thames Valley office, with a flexible neighbourhood system providing a general overall layout to the office, without tying individuals to designated desks.
Confidential files are stored in a special electronic roller racking system, which not only makes very efficient use of space, but also means that access to files is restricted via a passkey system which can provide different levels of access to different team members based on need. This enables Shoosmiths to more than meet its data security obligations under the new EU-wide GDPR laws.
Introducing this agile way of working freed up additional space on the floorplate, and Claremont was able to introduce a number of activity-based work settings into the office, including quiet pods for concentrated work, telephone booths for confidential calls away from meetings, and a number of meeting rooms with integrated videoconferencing facilities, allowing Shoosmiths’ people to stay in touch with clients and with other offices at the touch of a button.
By making smart use of space, the Claremont team were able to seamlessly move Shoosmiths’ team from their original 18,000 sq ft home in Russell House to a 13,000 sq ft space in Forum 5, which meant a significant saving in the firm’s property overhead. Furthermore, Claremont was able to bring the project in significantly under budget, which provided an additional cost saving to Shoosmiths.
A tight timescale meant that the Claremont delivery team needed to keep an unwavering control of the build phase of the project, managing multiple subcontractors and suppliers to ensure all of the works were closely coordinated, ensuring a successful project completion to a high standard.
Claremont understood the optimal combination of people, space, technology and furniture needed to deliver a workspace that best supports our people in the work they do and were able to deliver it to a high standard within the required timescale. The fact that they also provided significant savings on our original budget was an added bonus.Simon Taylor
Head of Estates, Shoosmiths