Like almost every industry, the legal profession has encountered numerous difficulties during the global pandemic brought about by COVID-19. Some of these challenges include transitioning to remote work, converting to remote litigation, and facing higher competition for talent.
What should a good business consider when they are looking at moving offices?
From our experience, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account and are very different depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, businesses don’t have an option, but when you do have a choice, here’s what you should consider:
WHY SHOULD I MOVE OFFICES?
Enable you to get closer to your client base: Being close to your clients isn’t everything in today’s world of connectivity, however, being in a location that is convenient for clients to access, or even better, in close proximity to clients is a clear advantage of an office relocation.
Enable a ‘reset’ within your business: Your business may be experiencing something of a stagnation, or a lethargy effect. For all Carlton supporters, the concept of ‘Reset’ is very real. An office move enables you to rebuild your culture and start afresh by setting out ground rules that apply to the new office.
Obtain a better market incentive: Unless you have a great relationship with your landlord, the reality is that you will not get as good a lease incentive from the existing landlord as you will from a new landlord. This means higher rent, less fit out contribution and less rent free time.
Improve your image: As much as the nostalgia of being in the same office for 25 years brings lump to the throat and a tear to the eye (tongue in cheek), the reality is if you are attempting to portray your organisation as a dynamic enterprise, you may actually appear a little stale to your clients, partners and suppliers.
If you can’t fit: Look forward 5 years and if you won’t fit into the space at that point, there is no point staying where you are, as it may cost you more to break a lease in 3 years than it will to take a larger space.
WHY SHOULDN’T I MOVE OFFICES?
Stay close to clients: Sometimes businesses are located in close proximity to their clients and it wouldn’t make sense for them to move offices if there is limited availability of space in the immediate vicinity.
Potential interruption of business while you move: The interruption to you ‘business as usual’ operations can be up to a couple of weeks. That can be a drawback to clients particularly if your company goes offline for a few days at a time if there is a technical glitch with phones (and that does happen).
Good relationship with the landlord: If your landlord is willing to give you a good deal, and it would make sense to stay put for your business (as in growth is not going to be a factor over the next 5 years), it definitely make sense to stay put. If you have a good relationship, there is little point breaking it unless you can see the next relationship being as strong or stronger. Good relationships mean quick response to any services issues, and potentially helping you out down the track if you do run into trouble.
Costs: If you are literally sitting on a budget at this point, and can’t afford to spend a cent on a fit out or relocation, there is little advantage moving. You need to be able to make the space you move to your own.
Good location: There is no point moving offices if it is going to be inconvenient for everyone to get to. If the location suits all your staff, and like point 1, there is nothing in the immediate proximity to move to that suits, there is not point moving for the sake of moving.
The concept of flexible working is here to stay. As a result of COVID-19, every organisation has been thrust into a position where they will