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Legal sector offices in the post-covid era

One of those sectors which have always relied heavily on personal contact is the legal sector, well represented in Brussels. Real estate advisor CBRE has conducted an on-line interview among law firms and experts across Europe, including Brussels, to see how they envisage the future of their professional interactions and office use in the light of covid-19.

One of the first sets of figures which emerge from this shows that 63% of offices are partially open and a further 34% are fully open. Some 45% of attendees expect face-to-face interaction with clients to become a less important driver of workplace strategy. In terms of real estate requirements, 53% are expecting to reduce their office footprint, including a fifth who expect a reduction of over 20%. Meanwhile, 69% See lease flexibility as an increasingly important part of long term real estate strategy and 78% expect to devote an increasing proportion of their office space to informal meeting/collaboration hubs.

The question about the future of the workplace also produced some interesting results. When asked to consider what their office needs would be in 18-24 months from now, around 58% of respondents believed their office would be smaller to a greater or lesser degree, while 34% expected there to be no change. The remaining 12% expected their office size to grow.

Home-working is clearly here to stay, with ‘2 days a week’ being the most often quoted level. The vast majority either accepts this new trend or is positively supportive of it, while a minority is neutral with just 2% being ‘mildly opposed’.

In terms of the way the offices themselves will look, a flexible and adaptable fit-out tops the list of expectations, closely followed by connectivity and IT. More workforce collaboration is also predicted. Bookable ‘Zoom-type’ areas will also become the norm.
Tim Harrup
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