Law firm offices of the future may feature designated project rooms, high quality telepresence capacities and more flexible designs allowing for space efficiencies, according to a leading office designer.
Dan Cox, an associate at Carr Design, predicts that shifts in communication structures - particularly switching from the telephone to the computer - have not only fuelled productivity, but may also rapidly encourage legal businesses to move away from enclosed offices to open-plan environments.
Contributing to the Lawyers Weekly special, Legal Life 2020, published in the hardcopy edition this Friday, Cox makes predictions on what the workspace for a lawyer might like look by the year 2020.
"As commercial rents increase, so will the need for space-efficient facilities that provide flexible structures to support autonomous to collaborative tasks," writes Cox. "As a result, a multitude of spatial types for working may be 'reserved' as a project cost. Sophisticated task planning software may have space management capacities as the phenomenon of flexi-desking moves to a hotelling approach where different spatial types are booked based on the duration of cases."
Cox predicts that future law firm offices could house "intercom project rooms" - an inter-communication space with the ability to acoustically isolate from open working areas with interactive display and recording of information.
He also suggests that "telepods" may be common in the future - with booths for individual or small groups housing advanced telepresence capacity to instantly connect with colleagues in other locations.
"Advances in telepresence video-conferencing will heavily increase as carbon restrictions limit travel while our need to connect to the global network grows," writes Cox.
"We may even see the physical space start to merge with the virtual. Will we join global conferences in vir
tual spaces such as 'second life'? Will our design focus transfer to these virtual environments?"
With systems developed to better monitor productivity, Cox predicts we may also see continued growth in remote working with employees offered increased flexibility in their choice of working environments. "Will we be invoicing our employer for working from home or sacrificing salary for our Aeron chair at the city office?" asks Cox.
What do you believe the workspace of the future will look like? Have your say below
The Lawyers Weekly Legal Life 2020 special is out Friday