Slater and Gordon is to close its London base as staff gear up for working from home permanently from September onwards.
In a U.K. first, the move sees the firm end its residence at its current base at 90 High Holborn in London. It will also conduct a review of all its other U.K. offices in September. It comes as the firm’s staff start their third month of working remotely under the COVID-19 lockdown.
Once the firm’s lease for the Holborn office ends in September, all 200 London employees will work from home most of the time—though the firm is hoping to find a smaller office space which will be used to host meetings.
The firm is yet to make any concrete decisions regarding its lease commitments to its offices outside of London.
The firm’s chief executive David Whitmore said in a statement: “Today we have announced to our staff that we won’t ever go back to how we worked before COVID.
“We don’t want our staff tethered to desks in offices. We trust them to work hard to get the best outcomes for our clients wherever they are. We are a technology driven business and we always knew that having most of our staff working remotely was in our future. It improves the well-being and work life balance of our staff and provides flexibility to our customers. We have been able to accelerate these plans over the last few months.
“When we do look to return to our offices they won’t look like they used to and colleagues will be encouraged to continue working remotely for the majority of the time. Working smart is better for everyone. Our colleagues and our customers. It’s the S+G Way.”
Whitmore added that the firm’s offices are likely to run to just 35% capacity while social distancing restrictions remain. Staff will be provided with multiple screens if they are needed and homes fitted with comfortable office equipment.
The decision comes as other firms, such as Baker McKenzie and DLA Piper, have been canvassing staff (via surveys) on the prospects of returning to their offices after the lockdown.