K&L Gates redesigns workplace to motivate staff


Before moving into its offices in London’s One New Change in 2011, legal firm K&L Gates’ 250 London employees were based in an 11-storey building on Cannon Street, with each floor housing a different department.

Tony Griffiths, administrative partner at K&L Gates, explains: “The way the office was set out meant there was limited mixing and interaction between departments. So when we were given the opportunity to move to One New Change, we decided to overhaul this more rigid departmental-based structure by mixing up the different disciplines.”

Although there was resistance to the idea initially, the way the new offices were designed made it easier to implement this approach. Working with architects Lehman Smith McLeish, the firm transformed its new 10,000m-square office into a workspace, incorporating views over St Paul’s Cathedral with practical features such as meeting rooms and a 180-seat conference suite.

With most of the office space on one of the two floors, the plan to mix up all the different departments was put into action. And although there was still some resistance, it only took a few weeks to win the cynics over.

“One month after we moved in, we won the biggest real estate mandate of the year,” says Griffiths. “This was entirely down to the new working arrangements. By enabling our people to work alongside one another, they have a better understanding of the areas we cover and therefore are much better equipped to communicate this to our clients. As a result, we’ve since won many more cross-disciplinary mandates, and have achieved a 60% increase in revenue and a 62% increase in productivity.”