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DWF examines office space in Walkie Talkie as workers stay home after pandemic

By on June 19, 2022 0

A major British law firm is revamping its office space in London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper as work-from-home habits persist post-pandemic.

Manchester-based DWF, which is the UK’s largest publicly listed law firm, has hired a consultancy to review its property footprint after deciding Covid has permanently changed working habits, sources say .

The review could include reducing the number of offices it currently occupies at its London headquarters in the Fenchurch Building, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie, which was once crowned Britain’s ugliest building.

The company, which has 30 offices worldwide, moved into the building in 2014. At the time, it occupied nearly 43,000 square feet of space, renting the entire 32nd floor and part of the 31st – quite for its staff at the time with additional capacity for future hires.

DWF, which is led by legal veteran Sir Nigel Knowles, remains one of the few publicly listed law firms in Britain after rival Mishcon de Reya scrapped its long-awaited IPO plans early of the month.

Its potential downsizing comes as companies across the country consider downsizing or closing expensive office space, as few workers are moving back into full-time office life more than two years after the first lockdown.

Research published earlier this month found most Londoners think they will never return to the office full-time, with six in 10 employees in the capital still working from home at least once a week.

Former government adviser Mark Kleinman, a public policy professor who worked on the study, said he was surprised that respondents showed such “commitment” to working from home “regardless of politics, age [and] seniority” as well as personality type, with little difference between introverts and extroverts.

The research, from the Policy Institute and King’s College London, also found few agree with Boris Johnson’s criticism that working from home is ineffective because people are “very slowly wondering how far ‘in the fridge, cutting off a little piece of cheese’ and forget what they were. Do. Only 16% of people agreed that home workers don’t work as hard as those who commute.