21 Apr 2020

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Shaw Gibbs wireless London office paves the way for remote working during lockdown

On the 3 March, Shaw Gibbs moved their London operation to a new office on Great Portland Street Marylebone.

The office, which is larger than the premises on Devonshire Street was secured in order to accommodate the growth of the Shaw Gibbs London team as well as having the capacity to house the Oxford Partners and staff who work across the two sites.

From an IT perspective, it was designed to be the flagship of remote connectivity and a flexible environment for Shaw Gibbs. Mark Ferguson, Associate Director of IT for the practice said that his plan for the Great Portland Street was something he would like to eventually roll-out for the whole firm. Mark, who is responsible for innovation for Shaw Gibbs has implemented a number of apps and processes to enable the effective use of technology, create a flexible workspace and reduce the amount of traditional wired infrastructure.

For example, there are no longer physical phone handsets, with all of the London team using an app which emulate the direct dial numbers, internally and externally. Staff can not only work at different desks or rooms, but in different locations with the exact same experience,. This allows the accountants to service their clients in the best possible way as well as improving internal communications.

The intention of the office was that it would be effective for flexible working when the Partners and staff move between the Oxford and London offices and that the London team could easily work from home or a client’s premises when required. Little did Mark know that the changes he made to the London office would need to be rolled out so quickly to the rest of the practice as a result of the COVID-19 UK lockdown.

Mark comments

The IT infrastructure we put in place in the new London office has really enabled us to quickly adapt to home working, the whole practice is now using a phone app on their mobiles. This allows us to be contactable by our clients wherever we are. We have also embraced Teams as a method to keep in touch and share documentation.

Often, people confuse innovation and the best use of technology driver with increasing physical technology. In contrast I am keen to reduce hardware on desks, in server rooms and cabling around the office. As well as eliminating unnecessary clutter, it is an important step in reducing our carbon footprint which is something very important to me and the ‘Green Team’ at Shaw Gibbs. We have managed to do this whilst maintaining a highly effective and efficient work environment.

Thanks to the work we have been doing over the past year and an amazing effort by my team, the sudden transition to lockdown went fairly smoothly with minimal disruption to client service. We have also found that internal meetings and our regular staff socials can continue to go-ahead with the effective use of the technology we had already implemented

Please note that the image of working in the office was taken prior to the UK lockdown and associated social distancing regulations.

Mark Ferguson, Associate Director of IT at Shaw Gibbs
Mark Ferguson, Associate Director of IT at Shaw Gibbs
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