Modular home offices become part of hybrid working for Square One Law

Square One Law’s Maria Brooks with her new modular home office

Square One Law has become the first business in the North of England to install a new British manufactured modular built home office to a crucial team member as it looks at the future of work combining office and home working.

The entrepreneurial law firm with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Teesside, has reached an agreement with Yorkshire-based start-up MHOR workspace to enable its IT manager to have a professional, modern office installed in her garden to provide a flexible and secure workspace.

Founded by chartered surveyor Alex Duckett, MHOR workspace has a 100,000 square feet production facility in Brompton-on-Swale, North Yorkshire where it has begun manufacturing the modular units, which can be offered as a solution to home working where people may either have limited space in their house or as a means to keep work and home life separate.

Available on contract hire basis from £299 per month, the contemporary-designed pods feature independent and secure, superfast microwave internet connections, requiring no connection to the home’s broadband.

The units do not require planning permission, as long as the house is not a listed building, coming under the permitted developments exemption, and take three hours to install.

They are connected to the property’s electricity supply, which also powers the pod including a dedicated air conditioning unit.

Each 2.5m x 3.5m unit, which comes with commercial grade lighting and insulated panelling, is fitted with ergonomic furniture, including an adjustable sit-stand desk and can include corporate branding.

The first pod installed by MHOR workspace has been fitted in the garden of Square One Law’s IT manager Maria Brooks terraced home. It was transported to her home on the back of a lorry and lifted into place by a crane.

Throughout the series of coronavirus lockdowns Maria persevered, working from her kitchen table overseeing the technology and network connectivity between the firm’s remotely based lawyers and support teams.

However, her new office provides a separate, dedicated workspace, which is particularly helpful when she has early morning or evening enquiries from colleagues. It also enables her to create an improved work/life balance and better plan her time between home and office working.

Maria said: “I am really impressed with my new office and it will benefit my work greatly. It has given me an effective hybrid approach to my job enabling me to have the same level of focus at home as I can give when I am in our offices.”

Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, said: “We have been focused on the future of work for some time, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. We are convinced that offices will remain at the core of most service-based businesses, but we have experienced first-hand there is a role for home working and it is vital to keep everyone connected.

“Maria has an essential role in the smooth running of Square One Law’s IT systems and productivity and this office solution makes sense in case we are faced with any future lockdowns.”

Alex Duckett, founder of MHOR workspace, said: “Businesses are increasingly looking at options for agile and hybrid working, and we believe our modular home offices are the solution. They address both physical and mental health challenges of working from home, while also offering a secure environment that helps businesses overcome governance and data protection issues.

“Through the contract hire method they are affordable, particularly with the opportunity to claim back the VAT and Corporation Tax elements and can become the employee benefit of choice.

“It has been a pleasure doing business with Square One Law. They fully understand the benefits of our approach and made a swift decision to try it with their IT manager. The installation process at Maria’s home was extremely smooth and demonstrates how straightforward they are to fit and can be operational very quickly.”

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