Should you keep a brick-and-mortar law office in a virtual world?
In the age of cloud and mobile technology, we can work from almost anywhere in the world. The idea of working in pajamas or on a beach, or simply having more flexibility, certainly has its appeal. Before you go fully mobile, however, consider some of the benefits of maintaining a law office in a virtual world.
Sure, you can dial into a video conference from a Tahitian beach (at least, I think you can – I haven’t tried it personally), but what message does that send to your client at the other end?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for vacations and enjoying life, but clients also need to know that their lawyer understands the gravity of their legal needs. The ability to meet with you face-to-face, at least occasionally, shows your client that you are available and present to fully service their case. Meeting that client in a professional office speaks for you before you ever open your mouth.
For independent lawyers, a coworking space can strike the right balance between a fully virtual law practice and a full-time office. You can use the space when you need a professional setting, but also work virtually when you need more flexibility.
For larger law firms, a physical office space represents your brand. It speaks to your firm’s depth and breadth.
We discussed collaboration in more depth in our last post, but it bears repeating that collaborative efforts often benefit from in-person interactions. Teleconferences can fill in the gaps, but true relationships are forged when you can look a partner in the eye.
Defined Work Time
For people who tend to stay in work mode more than they should, a virtual office can fuel unhealthy habits. Many independent lawyers started their own practices in order to achieve greater work-life balance, but find themselves online and working all hours of the day.
A dedicated, off-site work space can help you define work time vs. personal time. When you step into an office, you can maintain a higher level of productivity. When you leave, it signals to your brain that it’s time to clock out.
For large law firms, consider how the design of your space impacts your staff. Fast Company points to certain design elements that contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity:
“A striking office can enhance brand identity and attract top talent. More importantly, it can also boost employee creativity, productivity, satisfaction, and even health. Study today’s most appealing offices, and you’ll soon see several universal principles that architects and designers use to create world-class workspaces.”
Those principles include: natural light, designing for different work styles, offering a variety of work spaces and adding details like plants and curved edges.
Staying in the Loop
Relationships are the lifeblood of all law firms, from independent practices to big firms. A physical office places you in proximity to other businesses and professionals, which can help you forge new and lasting relationships. Those relationships, in turn, help you stay connected to what’s really going on in your city or business center.
While technology connects us all in an instant, it can also isolate us. Online, we tend to focus on people and topics in a relatively narrow scope. Operating and interacting with others in person can open up our view and lead us to new opportunities.
If you are an independent lawyer looking for flexible and affordable office space, schedule a tour today. If you run a large law firm in Denver, contact us to learn about real estate solutions that can help you optimize your existing office space.