Grimshaw & Co's new offices help them remain at the cutting edge of technologyGrimshaw & Co has always been a law firm that’s “going places” – but seldom has that meant an actual change of scenery.
By combining the company’s decision to upgrade its IT with a move into the heart of Auckland’s central business district, Grimshaw & Co has shown its desire to remain at the forefront of technological development while also providing thoroughly 21st century surroundings for its clients, partners, solicitors, management and support staff.
A building move comes fraught with pitfalls concerning IT and technical issues, and the logistical challenge of transferring years’ worth of documents, reference books and the “tools of the trade” staff require, so six months on from Grimshaw & Co’s office relocation to 125 Queen St it’s been heartening to see quite how seamlessly it all went.
IT Manager Michelle Arnott oversaw the move into the new building, which, behind its well-known stone façade originally designed in 1865 by Melbourne architect Leonard Terry for the then fledgling Bank of New Zealand, had been completely refurbished and revitalised to become a light, airy and modern place to work.
She says the physical transfer was carried out in a weekend at the end of August – all comms and computers off at 11am on Friday and back up and running at 9am Monday morning – to minimise downtime for all 31 staff involved.
“It was a big project overall because it stemmed from moving digital and moving ‘into the cloud’ the month before,” Michelle says. “We’re keen to stay on top of technology and are now one of the legal leaders in the technology market in New Zealand."
“We had been a very paper-based law firm to the extent that most of our walls were covered in paper documents and books – moving to an office that is open-plan with little or no shelving on the walls for paper meant six months of preparatory work to get everything scanned electronically and archived off-site.”
The impact of open-plan has been felt throughout the office with the disappearance of closed offices in preference of cubicles and glass partitions – something Michelle describes as a “sophisticated” version of open-plan that retains staff’s privacy while allowing for a “cleaner, more modern environment”.
Although she’s quick to stress the importance of retaining private areas for client meetings.
“We still have three rooms with the capacity to hold meetings of between four people and eight people – or the full boardroom which is larger than the previous office, so there’s still a lot of privacy,” she says. “And it’s important that our reception is still very private as well so we have cordoned off the front of the office for a reception and the meeting rooms.”
From the perspective of visitors to the 125 Queen St office, there are still car parks available (although the upheaval on Albert St due to the ongoing construction of the City Rail Link is slightly inconvenient) and the more central location makes for far more parking options nearby.
But Michelle says being part of the “hub of the city” means both visitors and Grimshaw & Co staff have been able to save a lot of time.
“We’ve found a lot of our experts and clients now walk to us so that has made it much easier,” she says. “And the biggest difference we’ve all noticed is that we can step out more easily for meetings – so we feel a lot closer to some of our clients and it’s easier to get around.”