Executive suites can be like living in an apartment building in NYC where you never meet your neighbors. To get a feel for a space, take a test drive before renting.
Tuesday: A free eBook “The Insider’s Guide: How to Rent the Perfect Law Office”– (52 page, full color PDF)
Executive suites are generally pretty nice facilities.
Will you get…
…a commercial office building with a fancy lobby? Good chance.
…nicely appointed reception and conference rooms? More than likely.
…accommodating staff? You bet.
…a fancy coffee maker with color LED lights and foaming milk? Absolutely.
…a collaborative work environment that adds real value to your practice (like referral or co-counsel opportunities)? Huh? Not a chance.
Easily collaborating with office mates is the best feature of renting a shared office space. When you work alongside many other professionals every day, it’s easy to exchange referrals or collaborate on projects.
You should expect your office rental to produce business for your firm.
Attorneys should expect their office space to be as monetarily productive as a junior associate. And just as your junior associate has billable hours requirements to be profitable, your office space should be held to the same standard. Over the course of a year you should expect to receive at least enough economic value from your office (through referrals and other opportunities) to pay for your rental fees.
Collaborative culture in executive suites starts with management.
But in order for this to happen, the office suite must have a culture of collegiality. In executive suites in NYC, collegiality starts with management. Management must set the tone that it is acceptable, if not encouraged, for officemates interact with each other. If management leads by example, tenants will follow.
Yet, what you commonly find in business centers is a culture that is identically similar to living in a high rise doorman apartment building. You can live in a building for years and never meet any of your neighbors. In fact, most apartment dwellers actively ignore their neighbors and it’s totally acceptable behavior.
Working in executive offices, in New York can be exactly like this. Except for some occasional small talk with the receptionist, most tenants proceed to their office, close the door behind them and spend the rest of their day working in “closed-door-solitude.”
There is very little interaction, and accordingly there is very little opportunity for collaboration.
Executive office space staff generally do a great job of getting to know each client. They just do a lousy job of getting clients to know each other.
For an attorney, this “culture of solitude” may represent tens of thousands of dollars in lost opportunity every year.
Before renting from executive suites NYC, take a test drive (on them).
Most executive suite operators have a “day office” program. That is, you can come into the center and rent an office by the day. Often, operators will give to prospective clients who are interested in renting an office a free day or half day rental (we also do this at Law Firm Suites’ executive suite for law firms).
Whether they offer the incentive or not, ask the sales manager if you can use a day office for a half-day (on them) to get a feel for the space. Find out from the manager the day of the week when they have the most activity in the office.
Show on that day with your laptop. Do a little work, but mostly schmooze. Ask the manager to introduce you to some of the lawyers in the office. If it can be arranged, see if there are any lawyers who could be potential referral partners and see if they would want to meet for lunch with you.
Talk to some of the other tenants, especially those professionals who may be working with the same kinds of clients as you.
Finally, get a feel for the energy in the space. Is it collegial, too noisy, too quiet, do people interact with each other, or does it have a vibe similar to a hotel.
Is a collegial work environment something you thought about when considering executive suites for office space?
Interested in taking a test drive of Law Firm Suites’ offices, get a free half-day office rental on us. See this page for details >>
Thank you for reading, I’ll see you down in the comments! And don’t forget to come back to read the remaining post from Finding the Perfect Law Office month.