Welcome to our new blog series "Working Well" where we take a look at workplaces through the eyes of the people within them. Each month, BRM catches up with previous clients to hear how they found, created and continue to manage a workplace that "works well".
This week we spoke to Henry Kalus, Partner at Melbourne-based law firm Kalus Kenny Intelex. The firm recently made the move to a new location at 4 Riverside Quay in Southbank. Here's what he had to say about the new workplace...
Your firm has recently made the move to 4 Riverside Quay in Southbank. What kinds of opportunities do you see in the new location?
Moving to RQ will present a number of opportunities, and one of those is simply the ability to walk or jog along or even just look at the river on a daily basis. Primarily the river and the energy of the precinct should impact staff in a positive way.Working environments should provide stimulation so that working is in all respects an enjoyable part of life rather than being seen as a chore and the opposite of living a life.
The precinct should enhance the lives of our staff from both entertainment and wellness perspectives.So many offices provide a sense of isolation yet at RQ you can’t help but be stimulated by the river the music and the buzz of activity.
We also expect to attract staff who may have been reluctant to leave the city. In some ways RQ is the best part of the city but without its congestion.
Finally given the nature of our work its proximity to other major professionals such as real estate agents investment bankers financiers and the courts should enhance relationships and provide convenience.
How does the design of the new office reflect the values of Kalus Kenny Intelex?
The design of our office like everything we do reflects our values. We’ve had those values since 1993 when we started. And they start with impacting people in positive ways. That’s our measure of success. So if the office design enhances the lives of our people we have succeeded. Our breakout space "Kafe Kway" is located centrally in the office to encourage staff engagement. It’s big enough to seat nearly everyone and is the office focal point.You can’t go anywhere without walking through it , without seeing someone. It encourages communication. It helps staff get to know one another and understand each other. It’s there for connection.
Wide open spaces, warm tones and materials, and no corridors make for a more comfortable environment. And a challenge was how to make the river a feature. So from reception a curved timber wall and curved plaster ceiling moves people from the front door through to our spectacular river frontage. So you can’t miss it.
We wanted a quality feel with purpose to reflect our professional standards. Most importantly, we wanted people, clients and staff to feel comfortable and to encourage connection, because connection with both clients and with staff is the essence of any enterprise.
How does the changing landscape of work in law firms affect the people at Kalus Kenny Intelex?
We are clear that the firm works for the staff as much as the staff work for the firm. We always say to staff who embrace our firm's values that our firm and their role in it should fit into the lives they want to lead. We ask them to tell us how the firm can fit into their best life , rather than the converse. And obviously advances in technology facilitate that objective by allowing people to contribute anywhere anytime. Technology shouldn’t be used to get people to work more but it can be used to allow people to live more, and fulfil their roles.
Also, the right workplaces can be incredibly powerful in dealing with mental health issues which are so prevalent. A caring and supportive workplace plays an enormous role in people’s lives, and management of health issues. At our firm we are proud , not just of the legal work we do , but of the part we play in the lives of our team members so that they can develop and lead their best lives. As an example we have a number of people who since starting with us have begun law degrees and we will give them every opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Tell us about your experience with BRM Projects throughout the property search. How did our services benefit the team?
BRM facilitated the entire process from premises search and analysis to lease negotiation to design and finishes advice and selection, to the tender process, project management and even sorting out the make good at the premises we were leaving. And throughout, they provided considered advice that clearly showed that they understood who we were and what was important to us. It was an individually tailored thoughtful end to end service for a fixed price. Perfect for busy professionals trying to navigate through all that a move involves at the same time as running a business.
For each element of the process BRM brought the right people with the right expertise to the task. Yet there was a consistency of approach throughout and seamless handover through teams.
In critical issues, BRM rose to those occasions with commitment and intelligent solutions. So the outcome has been great, the process seamless and the pricing reasonable. But for me what’s most important is that the experience of dealing with BRM’s people was so enjoyable. We had fun along the way and I always felt I was in the hands of good people who made the effort to understand me and who cared about me and our project.
What would you say are the key elements to a successful legal workplace?
What makes a successful workplace depends on who are, what you want and how you define success. For me it’s about collectively embracing and delivering on our values. It starts with having wonderful people as colleagues who care about being supportive to their teammates and achieving great outcomes for clients. And our measure of success is not profit though we want our staff to do well financially and we want to be able to provide for our families and reinvest in a better work place. For us success is measured by the quality of our people and our clients , staff and client retention , great outcomes for clients, career development for staff and fun. Ultimately it’s about impacting staff and clients in a positive way and being proud of who we are as a collective. And an office environment that facilitates those outcomes by encouraging connection communication functionality and fun is an essential ingredient .
Discover how BRM can unearth the possibilities at your workplace. Contact us today for a chat.
Sign Up To Our Newsletter