Saving Money and Supporting Clients: Bet Tzedek’s Transition to Hybrid Work
Focusing on your people will always lead to a win. Take it from Bet Tzedek, a non-profit, providing free legal services to low-income individuals in LA county. Their mission is to provide people with equitable access to justice and their work is crucial to the day-to-day lives of their clients.
With a growing team and a lease ending, President & CEO Diego Cartagena had two choices: expand the office and increase real estate costs, or find another way to continue supporting Bet Tzedek’s employees, volunteers, and clients in the same space.
His solution? Hybrid work.
37% team growth in a small office
Implement a hybrid work strategy
Saved 50% on real estate costs
Strict non-profit budget
Bring on Robin as a workplace experience platform
73% increase in office utilization with improved employee & volunteer experience
Financial limitations for employee benefits
Optimize existing office space for team collaboration
Enabled deeper connections with dozens of clients monthly
Using Robin’s platform Bet Tzedek was not only able to maintain overhead and save on real estate costs, but allowed them to improve their employee and volunteer experience, and enable a deeper connection with their clients.
Bigger Team on a Budget
Nonprofits exist to serve their clients, but have to constantly balance overhead costs, staff retention and volunteer experience. Real estate is one of the largest expenses for most companies and organizations, and although finding a new office seemed like the easier option, Diego knew this would increase costs and create more work for his already busy teams.
In 2020, Bet Tzedek’s team grew by 37 and it was clear they needed a new strategy to accommodate everyone. When the idea of hybrid work was introduced, Diego knew it would:
Allow them to stay in their current office and save on real estate and moving costs
Funnel more operating costs into serving their clients to fulfill their mission
Provide their teams with flexibility- an essential part of recruiting and retaining staff
As they thought about rollout and processes, Diego realized that manually tracking desk and space booking wasn’t going to work.
“In the nonprofit space, we often tend to go with the most low-budget solution,” said Diego. “Initially people thought we could use a Word document or a spreadsheet and we quickly realized that's not going to be feasible for us.”
They needed a low maintenance way to manage their team’s hybrid schedules, open desks and offices, and replace a manual solution for sharing the day-to-day location of their attorneys, who often work outside of the office with clients.
Wanting to enable collaboration, create a seamless workplace experience, and streamline office processes, Bet Tzedek needed a tech solution to help manage their new workplace strategy. That’s where Robin came in.
The Ripple Effect of Hybrid Work & Robin
Diego and his team chose Robin because they knew it was a sustainable solution. The current capabilities and continuous product enhancements made it clear that Robin would be a tool they could use 10 years down the line.
“We ultimately landed on Robin because it was at the right price point and offered different kinds of amenities and services that we thought would meet our needs,” said Diego. ”We have complete control over everything with Robin. We can lay out the map, we can configure individual offices, set desks, and more.”
The user-friendly office map made it easy to see which desks and spaces were available and eliminated confusion for volunteers, who would join the office on an as-needed basis.
They also redefined their new client experience with Robin’s visitor management platform. Through Robin, clients can book space in the office for meetings and virtual hearings and Bet Tzedek’s team has a paper-free way to conduct health checkpoints, distribute NDAs and keep accurate track of who’s in the office when.
To combat any resistance to hybrid work and ease staff fears of losing personal space, Diego and his team rearranged the office and optimized their work stations. They built out custom “neighborhoods” that would help people organize by team. They created team huddle space where entire teams could work together and rearrange the desks and furniture to support collaboration, meetings with clients, or focus work.
With the right platform in hand and a newly redesigned office, Diego was ready to introduce hybrid work and Robin to his teams. He knew clear communication would be crucial to make their hybrid work implementation a success, so he formed a Return to Office committee to ensure all employee voices were heard. They also built out hybrid work resources their teams could use as a guide each day.
“We were very concerned about people being overwhelmed by complex technology, and we needed something that appeared simple, straightforward and easy,” said Diego. “Robin is allowing us to support flexibility to a much greater degree than if we didn't have access to the technology.”
Hybrid work allowed Diego and his team at Bet Tzedek to keep overhead costs down and improve the overall workplace experience. They avoided a 50% increase in real-estate costs and optimized their office to support collaboration and flexibility.
Bet Tzedek went from a traditional assigned office model to 100% hotel desks - freeing up space for volunteer work, and client-facing work, like meetings and virtual court appearances. They host guests in their office about 50% of the month and with Robin, their clients can easily coordinate and manage their schedules.
“The original mindset was, everybody will be at the office, and now it's the reverse. We're wondering who will be in the office, and if so, can we collaborate? Robin is helping us think through those questions.”
President & CEO | Bet Tzedek
They completely transformed their workplace strategy and improved the experience for the wider team. Some key improvements include:
Increased Flexibility - Flexibility is a competitive advantage for recruitment and retention. It also gives employees the ability to coordinate their work week around collaboration and office connection.
Seamless Client Experience - Clients can now book and reserve desks for virtual court dates, saving time and money going to the courthouse.
More Opportunities for Volunteers - New designated volunteer space allows volunteers to book their desks and eliminates friction when planning their weeks.
“Aside from salaries, our employees and top talent are looking for the flexibility that Robin has allowed us to incorporate. It has already come to the forefront as the most important issues on people's minds,” said Diego. “They are looking to retain that flexibility, and, again from a logistics perspective, I don't think we would have as much success trying to achieve that without Robin”
With a 73% monthly increase in office utilization since January 2022, hybrid work has given Diego and his team at Bet Tzedek a better strategy to use their office, while supporting their employees and volunteers, and most importantly their clients. They can now easily and safely provide legal services to those in need and continue to ensure their vision of equitable access to justice for all.
“It all revolves around staff comfort level, sense of flexibility, a sense of being able to retain some of the positive impacts of working from home or working in a hybrid environment,” said Diego. “Now we can redirect certain efforts to staffing and ensuring there’s someone in the office to support our clients. We have a system that allows people to feel safe.”