Published Wednesday 10th June 2020

Did you ever watch M.Night Shyamalan’s movie The Sixth Sense?

If you haven’t I won’t spoil the ending for you, but suffice to say that in the last 7 minutes of the 107 minute running time all the underlying assumptions you’d made about the plot are shot down and rather leave your head spinning.

I’ve been reminded of that feeling since Lockdown commenced several weeks ago.

Let me explain why.

A decade ago I joined Expense Reduction Analysts. For 15 years before that I worked in the commercial property industry; first as a commercial agent, then as a developer and later in property finance.

During that time I built, leased or financed millions of square feet for contact centres, government offices, law firms, insurance companies and the like. The received wisdom was, as one of my mentors John Bryce put it recently, that offices provide a “collaborative environment, and help organisations and employers deliver a sense of unity and purpose.”

And now?

Well if nothing else, the current Covid19 pandemic has illustrated how remarkably adaptable human beings are. So adaptable that we risk forgetting how quickly we all adopted new ways of working and revised our views on the previous conventional wisdom.

Of course you’ll be familiar with the work to ensure business continuity undertaken by your own firm, you might also recognise some of the anecdotal experience from essential Lockdown Zoom meet-ups like the Managing Partners Forum – where contributors have waxed lyrical about negligible productivity drop-off at worst, and measurable improvements at best.

You might have considered the positive effect that home working could have on staff turnover, the opportunities to hire talent from further afield or the happiness of your fee earners and support staff in avoiding a sweaty hour-long commute on packed public transport – at least for a few days each week.

You’ll certainly have considered that your occupancy costs are the second largest expense after your people.

And that’s why I’m writing to you.

Your future office will be designed, fitted-out and occupied around fundamentally different assumptions.

The number of people in occupation at any one time may change dramatically and the nature and extent of the support services you provide in-house to your fee earners will change.

Your needs for IT services, reprographics, document storage, telecommunications and information security will be radically different.

For all these reasons Expense Reduction Analysts’ Professional Services Team is here for you.

For almost thirty years we’ve been assisting firms to first understand and then optimise their costs. I hope you’ll be happy for me to write to you a few times over the coming weeks to explain exactly how we’ve done that and most importantly – how your firm could benefit from our experience.

About the Author: Jason Adderley, joined ERA after a 15-year career in the commercial property development and investment industry, and works with a diverse client base comprising solicitors, actuaries, chambers, patent attorneys, accountants, surveyors, consulting engineers and recruitment consultants.

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