Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C. recently introduced a new multi-functional meeting space to their employees. The new meeting space, known as “The Collaboratory”, is a place for professional collaboration and social connection among colleagues and peers at the firm. The project was driven by the observation that although employees had grown accustomed to working remotely from the comfort of home, many had noted the feeling of isolation and lack of connectivity to their friends and co-workers at the office. As a result, the firm looked to create a “commute-worthy” space to attract everyone to the office while providing some of the benefits and comforts of home.
The firm saw the opportunity to create a comfortable area where employees, project teams, and practice groups could meet to discuss work and projects but also to reconnect and foster personal relationships (a key factor to the firm’s hard-working yet collegial and friendly work atmosphere). Designed with stress-reducing amenities and the comforts of working from home, The Collaboratory is where people can meet and connect, mentorship can take place, social or personal discussions can happen, and professional collaboration can thrive.
The Collaboratory features various seating options, a smartboard TV with integrated video-conferencing technology, barista-style coffee-making equipment, and a fully-stocked kitchenette. The space is designed like a large kitchen and living room area with relaxed seating for professional meetings and social gatherings. The design features warm tones, wood accents, and subway tiles, making it an intentional visual escape from the rest of the office. The large island is a favorite place to congregate and gather around. The front of the area is all glass reminding those who pass by that they are welcome to join this open-door environment. It also provides a sightline to see connections and interactions taking place, which propels and encourages similar activities and draws people out of pandemic isolation. All of this was designed to ease the day to day demands of the profession, that can include stressful and time-consuming projects, days filled with deadlines, and the need for long hours of hard work.
Recently, JLL published their Q1: 2023 Law Firm Overview, highlighting the future of office and workspace trends in the legal industry. These trends included attorneys seeking out spaces that support and encourage team building, the importance of providing enhanced amenities and high-tech tools, and the view that firms should be a place with different office build-outs/workspaces that provide flexibility, comfort, and a positive experience for employees and clients (JLL, 2023). JLL’s conclusions confirm that the development of The Collaboratory is in line with future space trends for law firms and that SGK recognizes and supports the needs of current and future team members.
The Collaboratory has brought a modern and comfortable space for the entire SGK team to leverage as a late-night work area, a hangout for watching football and hockey games and World Cup soccer matches, a hotspot for impromptu dinners when working late, or for internal breakfasts, lunches or happy hour gatherings. The firm has also used it to promote healthy food and snacks (and an occasional not-as-healthy treat) to support a ‘care and wellness’ mindset. The Collaboratory was completed late last fall with the help of the firm’s longtime friends at A. Martini & Company who have done the firm’s buildout and renovation projects for almost 40 years. Clients are welcome and encouraged to check out the new space the next time they visit the firm’s office.