I’m not just a lawyer. I’m also, of course, a business owner, and when you run a small business that often means wearing a lot of hats. Some days I’m human resources, others I’m CFO, but this year I’ve been playing architect and interior designer as we have completely renovated our new office space, and they’re both jobs I love.
Growing up, I really wanted to be an artist. My Lebanese mother had strong beliefs about what success looks like and being an artist wasn’t topping the list. If you met her you wouldn’t be at all surprised that, because of this, my brother is a surgeon and I trained to be a lawyer. My mum is a force of nature!
So instead, I’ve created a business and I paint in my spare time, large colourful canvasses that allow me to express all the creativity that I rein in for my day job.
Unleashing my creativity
As soon as I saw the blank canvas of our new office space in the midst of COVID spring, I realised that both my mother’s ambition for me and my own were aligning. With this office space I could let loose my artistic creativity and I decided that I wasn’t going to hold back.
As we went into lockdown a skeleton crew started work – painting the ceilings sky blue and installing fabulous clouds made of sheep wool that also serve to muffle the sounds of a busy workplace.
Then they papered an expansive mural of a forest scene in the working area. For the meditation room (yes, you heard right!) a rose quartz crystal healing wallpaper and for the staff room a relaxing tropical waterfall scene to brighten even the dullest winter months.
An unpretentious and comfortable space to work
Comfort was a priority, so I ordered big velvet beanbags for my staff to chill in, and dog beds and treats for the canine members of our team (a dog friendly workspace is a happy workspace).
Everyone has a standing desk in a beautiful light oak and within the drawers of each desk everyone has their own personal wellness package – a sleep mask for our Gong Bath Friday’s, ear pods for meditation classes, a set of resistance bands for personal training, and their own Law 365 branded water bottles (reusable is the right choice for the environment).
I wanted the space to welcome Microsoft Partners, not intimidate them. To feel like an IT space, where standing desks (so much better ergonomically) and top of the range coffee machines are the norm. And like our client’s office spaces, I wanted ours to be state of the art, so we have an automated window blind system (raising and lowering the shades as the sun moves around the building), a Nest doorbell with Nest hub, and a security system to rival Fort Knox.
But I’m not just parodying Shoreditch and Silicon Valley start-ups. I love the elegance of a traditional law firm too, so the entrance is a cool expanse of marble just like you’d see in the City. The difference being no reception desk — we will greet you ourselves — so there’s just a cloud sofa to lounge in and a jungle-like living wall behind you to remind you that we’re more fun than other law firms.
The thought that counts
We moved in to the finished office as the summer ended and I’m delighted with the result. It’s well-designed and thought out but also a little irreverent and playful – we even added a living wall in one of the toilets!
It’s these little touches that I hope make the employees and our clients know I care about them. It’s so important to ignite all our senses, so I’ve been deliberately provocative with colours, textures, sound, lighting and smells (we just added a diffuser with citrus essential oils to keep us alert and focused).
Everything about the workspace is personal to me. In my work life and personal life, I believe that details and thoughtful touches matter. I have put in features that I hope will make the workday just a bit better for my staff and clients – just as I do when I decorate and host guests in my own home.