Remote work has been growing in popularity even before the COVID-19 outbreak. According to a recent survey by Slack, as of March 27 an estimated 16 million U.S. knowledge workers were working remotely due to COVID-19. The trend encompasses many industries, including the legal profession.
Remote work is usually associated with working from home and offers many advantages, such as no commute, more flexible office hours, and a comfortable working environment. However, working from home isn’t always an option for those in a legal office. There are many activities that require traditional office environments, which is where on-demand office spaces come into play.
Why Should You Consider On-Demand Office Environments?
To begin with, let’s clarify what we mean by “on-demand office space.” These are working spaces that a business can use for a fee when such a necessity arises. In other words, an as-needed coworking space instead of a traditional leased office. Why should you go for it?
- Privacy and Safety: Although in the era of COVID-19, many law firms and other businesses have transitioned to virtual offices, that doesn’t necessarily meet all the needs. Some clients still want and need to have in-person meetings, or situations might arise that can’t be handled remotely and shouldn’t be conducted in your office. A coworking space allows you to rent a private office and have more control over an environment where there will be no one else: just you and the client.
- Convenient Working Conditions: Although many legal documents have been pushed into electronic formats, there can still be a need for physical documents. Not everyone has a high-quality printer at home. In an on-demand office, usually access to office equipment is already included in the price.
- Cost-Effective: The average monthly cost of a dedicated desk in an on-demand office space is $387; of course, that price will fluctuate depending on the market. For a point of comparison, office furniture alone can cost $1,500 per person. Another advantage of on-demand offices is that you aren’t obliged to sign up for a monthly usage; you can rent a room or a desk for the amount of time you need.
What to Consider When Choosing On-Demand Office Environment
There are many options when it comes to on-demand office space. For example, you can rent a conference room or a private office to limit access from other people. You can also work in a row with other remote employees; however, this isn’t a reasonable option at the moment due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
Here is what you should consider when choosing flexible office space:
- Location: If you plan to hold meetings, it’s better to choose the office that will be easy to Google. In other words, both partners and clients should be able to easily find the office and where you will be located in it. Of course, it’s vital to give clients discretion on whether to meet in person during COVID-19.
- Communal space versus private: As mentioned before, to the best option during the current pandemic is to avoid “hot desks” (a row of desks in a coworking space), which won’t allow for proper social distancing. (If your client agrees to meet while health restrictions are in place, rent a private office and make sure it has been sanitized while also following all required health guidelines). In general, you should consider the privacy necessary to safeguard confidential materials when you decide whether it is appropriate to rent a coworking space.
- Networking Potential: Coworking offices are often full of other talented specialists from different fields. It can be an ideal way to establish valuable connections. Ask about the other types of professionals who regularly use the space and you may establish a helpful connection or even find a mentor.
Even after COVID-19, law firms and solo practitioners, like other types of businesses, will be more likely to use on-demand offices. As a cost-efficient and flexible option, this new work environment is worth considering in your long-term plans.