Schiller Projects Workplace Strategy Case Study

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Leveraging data to architecturally re-envision the future legal workspace.

NAME: 55 Hudson Yards, Legal LOCATION: New York, NY CLIENT: Boies Schiller & Flexner DESIGN ARCHITECT: Schiller Projects COMPLETION DATE: January 2019

Case Study: 55 Hudson Yards 1


ABOUT THE PROJECT Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF), a globally recognized legal practice, has long operated with an entrepreneurial spirit while confined to the templated workplace of a more traditional law firm. The design team re-imagined their New York offices to align the built environment with the firm’s collaborative workstyle while fostering a uniquely egalitarian corporate culture.

sioned to work with BSF at this pivotal time in their history. Due to the benefit of our own inter-disciplinary team, we took on a multifaceted role which responded to many design-related challenges, outside of the traditional role of architects. This project represents a push into the greater role an architecture firm can play from re-thinking space to re-imagining the business practices that happen within that space.

BSF, like many other legal practices had maintained many of the legacy components of traditional legal space because as tradition would have it, that is how a law firm traditionally works best. With a 2016 decision to move to Hudson Yards, a new building yet to be built, they decided in consultation with the design team to expand their thinking to consider how they might occupy space for work without legacy constraints.

The final architectural design reflects the client’s design brief to foster a collaborative culture that was disconnected due to a stale environment and the persistent excuse of digital communication. The design team conceptually brought out the “core wall” to form a new inner boundary closer to the curtain wall - connecting people to light and each other - and canted and curved all these interior surfaces in concrete. The flowing organic nature of the design reminds people that there is something around the next corner, above or below you. A central sculpture spans the three main floors of the

As an architectural and design consultancy, Schiller Projects was excited to be commis-

space connecting people visually across the business. Critically, the design took associates out of private offices for the first time in a leading American legal practice. This controversial decision was supported by rigorous data analysis and a design focus on supporting the entire facility as “the office” freeing the focus on “the desk.”

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THE BUSINESS CASE RE-PROGRAMMING THE WORK ENVIRONMENT Schiller Project’s begins every project with a robust data collection and research phase, allowing us to analytically respond to our clients’ needs, empower their decision making, and validate our design decisions. BSF saw this move as an opportunity to also improve their community and culture, alter their means of communication, update their branding and marketing approaches, and overall rethink how they could best invest in the future of their practice.

WORKSHOPS &

FOCUS GROUPS

SURVEYS &

QUESTIONNAIRES

ANECDOTAL INTERVIEWS

SITE OBSERVATION & MAPPING

The booklets in which our client’s personnel recorded their responses, allowing us to understand our client’s needs, translate that data into design solutions and empower our clients to make better informed decisions.

METRICS & RESULTS

Example data set driven by surveys and digital logs of meeting styles, frequency and duration.

Insitu results from workshop exercises

WORK TYPES

1. EXTERNAL MEETINGS

2. INTERNAL TEAM MEETING

6. TRIAL SUPPORT

7. DEPOSITION/MEDIATION

OCCUPANCY

OCCUPANCY

3. INTERNAL TEAM MEETING

4. COLLABORATIVE REVIEW

5. FIRE DRILLS

8. MOCK TRIAL/ARBITRATION

9. LARGE GROUP HOSTING

10. LARGE MEETING OR PRESENTATION

OCCUPANCY

OCCUPANCY

3-18 PEOPLE

3-7 PEOPLE

8-40+ PEOPLE

2-3 PEOPLE

DURATION

DURATION

DURATION

DURATION

OCCUPANCY

3-8 PEOPLE DURATION

1-6 HOURS

1-2 HOURS

1-3 HOURS

15 MIN -2 HOURS

1 - 2 WEEKS

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

2-3x/DAY

FREQUENCY

1x/MONTH

1. EXTERNAL MEETINGS

2. INTERNAL TEAM MEETING

3. INTERNAL TEAM MEETING

4. COLLABORATIVE REVIEW

5. FIRE DRILLS

8x/WEEK

OCCUPANCY

2x/DAY

OCCUPANCY

8x/DAY

OCCUPANCY

OCCUPANCY

4-10 PEOPLE

5-20 PEOPLE

10-20 PEOPLE

20+ PEOPLE

DURATION

DURATION

DURATION

DURATION

OCCUPANCY

30-100 PEOPLE DURATION

1-3 MONTHS

1-2 DAYS

1-5 DAYS

3-12 HOURS

3-6 HOURS

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY

9. LARGE GROUP HOSTING

10. LARGE MEETING OR PRESENTATION

3x/MONTH

5-6x/MONTH

6. TRIAL SUPPORT

7. DEPOSITION/MEDIATION

3x/YEAR

8. MOCK TRIAL/ARBITRATION

N/A

TBD

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21' *

16' *

16' *16' *

21' *

16' *16' *

RE-THINKING THE GOALS OF THE ‘PRIVATE OFFICE’ 21' * 21' * 21' * 21' *

INDIVIDUAL OFFICES

SHARED OFFICES

21' *

OPEN WORKSTATIONS

MEDIUM WORK ROOM

SMALL WORK ROOM

MEDIUM WORK ROOM

CALL ROOM

SMALL WORK ROOM

MEDIUM WORK ROOM

CALL ROOM

SMALL WORK ROOM

MEDIUM WORK ROOM

CALL ROOM

CALL ROOM

SMALL WORK ROOM

MEDIUM WORK ROOM

CALL ROOM

CALL ROOM

1,200 SF for other program

ENLARGED SHARED OFFICES

ENCLOSED WORK POD

SMALL WORK ROOM

600 SF for other program

1,200 SF for other program

Rather than evaluating SF per attorney as a metric of efficiency, we refocused on the SF of various support space per attorney based on work type. For example: if we removed the private office space, then we needed to assign the meetings that took place there to new room types based on frequency and duration. We were able to leverage the newly liberated square footage to diversify and democratize the space to better meet a broader platform of work.

1,000-1,100 SF for other program

RE-PROPOSING THE ENTIRE PROGRAM

The worktypes studies and program analysis empowered a metric based proposal to completely re-write the design program.

Through workplace strategy data, we studied how people worked in their offices. We identified four workspace types. In each type we catalogue the attributes of each and how they support BSF personnel in their work. We then re-imagined the spatial types to more broadly support those work types. 4


CHANGE IN CULTURE EMPLOYEE RECRUITMENT & RETENTION

To increase retention and encourage recruitment, we emphasized the creation of new types of space. We approached connectivity architecturally by understanding how and why employees interact with one another in an office setting.

“I used to have to google a person before I’d go meet someone, and now, within 3 weeks I know everyone in the office.” — ASSOCIATE

“It is much more social - in a good way. There is much more in person interaction and collaborative working. People even eat in a communal space vs at their desk! —

SPONTANEOUS ENCOUNTERS

Impromtu meetings and new collaborative work spaces replace the legacy water cooler setting. These encounters can have a huge impact on feeling of the community. An overall increase in office goodwill was expressed repeatedly by all level of BSF employees. COMMUNITY SPACE

“Now the space feels like one office, where before it felt like every floor was different.” — NON LEGAL

The community spaces provide areas used both for socializing and work.

SUPPORT

PARTNER

AMENITY SPACES

“[I] do come in [more] now, because I love it.” - Attorney

“[I] now bring clients into [my] office, I never would have had a client in my own office before.” - Attorney

“More likely to come work on the weekend, can walk and better light.” - Attorney

Q. What has changed the most in the way you use the office since you moved? A. “Walking to another lawyer's office if I want to talk to him or her. In old space, I most often called because of the amount of time it took to get to someone's office.” - ATTORNEY 5


GIN

CASE COMMENCES

Digital Case Material

Cloud Storage

LITIGATION PROCESS

CASE COMPLETE

Document Identification /Collection

H-drive

BSF Work Product

Document Request

Document Request

Document Request

Files Stored on Site?

Yes

No

Index System

Binder Printed

Documents Printed

Documents Printed

Documents Printed

Index System ‘A’

Private Office

Index System ‘B’

Hallway

Index System ‘C’

File Room

Index System ‘D’

Case Room

Documents Moved Off-Site

Document Elimination Document Elimination Document Elimination Document Elimination Document Elimination

PHYSICAL PAPER STORAGE

PROJECTED STORAGE COST = $600,000+ per year

INCREASED REVENUE The client’s unconscious use of paper products was immediately evident to the design team as part of a data driven needs assessment process. We helped BSF to identify strategies for reducing paper use, including creating a digital infrastructure to help them achieve their bottom line: reducing costs. The graphic to the left tells the story of paper use throughout the lifetime of a case and how digital infrastructure can improve long term cost savings. Moving to digital, the client forecasts a savings of 3 million dollars by 2022.

of that, approx. $250,000 is a result of workflow

NEW WORK TOOLS With a goal to lessen BSF’s paper usage, digitizing the workplace was a priority: we helped BSF identify strategies and simultaneously created a digital infrastructure to help them reduce their overall costs. The personalEMPLOYEE portal was LOCATE also developed as a central hub for our client’s to effortlessly access key resources, including navigational menus, the employee directory, how-to guides, a daily dining menu, and a firm-wide news & events page.

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THANK YOU.