Listening to create the perfect office in Manchester for Irwin Mitchell
- Irwin Mitchell
33,000 sq ft
- Services Involved
Strategy & Design
Design & Build
Activation & Engagement
Simply observing and listening to people underpins our ability to transform the way people work, and the work they do – for the better.
A workplace for working together
Moving more than 250 people to a new office in Manchester gave Irwin Mitchell the chance to make its mark as the region’s leading provider of personal and business legal services. It was the perfect opportunity to build a place that works for everyone in the business, and bring staff and visitors together by breaking down silos.
With cross-working between legal teams driving the company’s growth, our priority was to design, build and deliver a solution that supports constant collaboration. But for the transformation to succeed, we had to understand more about how people worked, and how their office needed to work for them. Our process helped identify problems before they became problems, and we built these solutions into our design.
Listening and understanding comes first
While exploring fittings, furnishings, and colour schemes is a crucial part of design, it can all be for nothing if it doesn’t work the way it needs to.
So before putting pen to paper, we got a deep understanding of Irwin Mitchell, the way they work, and the challenges they face. We conducted a time utilisation study, interviews and Leesman surveys. But it was by observing people that we ultimately learned what wasn’t working, and what could be improved.
We spoke the same language as our client
We watched and learned how Irwin Mitchell operates, and learned to speak their language in the process. While ‘Agile Working’ means different things to different companies, for them it was about designing a flexible environment that offers people a choice of places to work, meet and collaborate, underpinned by focused desk based working.
Strategic design makes all the difference
Particularly when it comes to creating a workplace that appeals to a wide audience of people within the business, as well as existing and potential clients. By keeping the interior design simple, we freed up more usable space and acoustics were also hugely important in creating the right atmosphere. Now, there’s a huge central break-out area overlooking Manchester’s Central Library, giving impressive views to their staff and creating a welcoming environment for people to meet with co-workers and clients.
We’re always learning more
Although we bring valuable sector knowledge to every project, the real power comes from combining this with insights about the unique ways a business works. For Irwin Mitchell, we got to know their processes, infrastructure and how staff engage with their clients and co-workers. And from this, we built specific functionality into the design – not least a future-proofed IT and technical infrastructure to support the company’s growth ambitions.
"The innovative design reflects the importance we place in our people, which will benefit our clients and ensure we deliver the highest quality legal services."Ros Bever, Regional Office Managing Partner, Irwin Mitchell Manchester
A workplace fit for success
Irwin Mitchell relocated to create a positive workspace to welcome clients and bring their legal teams closer together. By watching, listening and learning about the way people worked within the business, we did just that.
Their new office in Manchester says all the right things to clients, while offering staff a choice of formal and informal meeting rooms and work areas. The spacious breakout area provides a brilliant space for meeting, greeting and socialising. And by being able to easily collaborate, teams have grown even stronger – helping them practice better law.
By getting to know processes, infrastructure and how people work with their clients and co-workers, we created a workplace that encompasses their ethos of ‘Expert Hand, Human Touch’ that is both welcoming and inclusive but still professional and appropriate. A result born out of understanding.