Shared Workspace May Be Better Than Cubes For Law Firms
Shared workspaces are popular in cutting edge industries like technology but it could also be a boon for law firms, both large and small.
Rather than working in offices or cubicles, technology companies turned to collaborative group spaces where employees can share communal tables for working rather than hiding behind office walls. Now that way of thinking has caught on at law firms as a way to keep costs down.
Big firms are converting unused spaces to create an open office design which is a good way to decrease existing costs.
That's all well and good for existing office space, but starting with a more collaborative space model can be more cost efficient for new offices.
Law firms used to include law libraries to house court decisions and large filing cabinets to hold client information.
But technology has had a huge impact on the footprint of a legal office. It's no longer necessary to have a whole room devoted to housing books or files that are often stored on a computer.
Open workspace for employees can also cut down on build-out costs when leasing or purchasing a new building.
The cost to build-out an office space including walled offices, cubicles, and conference spaces is often a huge part of lease negotiations with landlords reluctant to cover as much improvement as the tenant wants.
By keeping a more open floor-plan, the build-out may only require a few walled spaces for private phone calls and conferences with clients.
Open floor plans can also contribute to lower infrastructure costs.
The IT wiring required for individual offices can be substantially more than that need for a general workspace area, reports HQ. It also increases capacity making it easier to take on new employees without having to worry about finding a larger office space.
Not only does that save money on office maintenance, it could translate into a lower monthly lease with a bit of negotiation.
Seating employees together also provides more opportunity for sharing knowledge and mentoring among attorneys with different experience levels, reports The Wall Street Journal. It's easier to ask a quick question and get back to work if you all sit together than if you have to get up to find someone to ask.
Law firms don't have to rely on precedent when it comes to setting up an office, especially if you're looking to cut costs or invest money in client services rather than dull cubicles. Shared workspace could be the innovative push that sets you apart.
- Lawyer Offices Shrink and Group Space Expands; Paul Hastings Considers Permanent Home Offices (ABA Journal)
- Coworking: Office Space Options for Solo Lawyers and Small Firms (FindLaw)
- Tough Times Force Firms to Reconfigure Offices (FindLaw's Strategist)
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