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DWF reviews office space in Walkie Talkie as workers stay home post-pandemic

·2-min read
walkie talkie - REUTERS/Toby Melville
walkie talkie - REUTERS/Toby Melville

A major UK law firm is reviewing its office space in London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper as home-working habits persist following the pandemic.

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

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

The firm, which has 30 offices globally, moved into the building in 2014. At the time, it took out almost 43,000 sq ft of space, leasing all of the 32nd floor and part of the 31st - enough for its staff at the time with further capacity for future hires.

DWF, which is run by legal veteran Sir Nigel Knowles, remains one of the few listed law firms in Britain after rival Mishcon de Reya abandoned its long-anticipated plans to float on the stock market earlier this month.

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

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

Ex-government adviser Mark Kleinman, a professor of public policy who worked on the study, said he was surprised that respondents showed such an “attachment” to home working “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 that few agree with Boris Johnson’s criticism that working from home is inefficient because people wonder "very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese" and forget what they were doing. Just 16pc of people agreed that home workers don't work as hard as those who commute in.

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