One must understand a few things before obtaining an office setup in a Midtown shared office space.
Moving a law practice is both time-consuming and costly any way you look at it.
For the practitioner of law, it is common to try and not move more than once every five years, which can be very tricky.
In five years, a lot can change. Your law practice could grow, downsize, etc. If it grows it means you are doing everything right for your practice.
It may not be wise to stay in the same space once your practice has grown because your needs might exceed the size of the space and it may be hard to find a place that promotes flexibility and stability.
Doing so requires having a solid understanding of these four things.
1. Which working environment will make you most productive?
Where you work matters and will have a direct effect on how productive you are in the office. Some enjoy a busy office while others need quiet and a sense of solitude to get things done. Which one are you?
Whatever your preference, you office needs to feel like an easy transition from home to office and not something you hate frequenting.
Take into account your current office space and your last office. what did you like about each one? What did you hate the most about it?
Was the office vibrant and lively or quiet and laid-back? These are important things to consider because once you sign on the dotted line for a new space, it can be very difficult to get out of if things are not working out.
There are many thing to take into account when selecting an office space. You checklist should have each of the basic priorities in order:
- Building location. Look for something that is not only convenient to you, but also your clients.
- Your physical workspace. You can sublease office space in the nicest NYC building, but if your workspace is a hovel, then you will not be happy or productive.
- The conference rooms. Next to your office, you’ll probably spend the most time in conference rooms. Make sure they will meet your typical needs, and more importantly, will be available when you need them.
- The office suite, including reception. If you had to choose between a workspace that makes you happy or a reception area with designer chairs and modern art, go with the former. An office suite that is “nice enough” will not prevent you from retaining clients, but will also not make the client think that your rates are inflated to pay for the designer furnishings.
- The building lobby. Most buildings where Midtown shared office space is located have decent lobbies. The market simply demands it. Frankly, the threshold for building lobbies is that there should be nothing offensive about it (odors, disrepair, etc.). That’s a low bar.
- The building exterior. Frankly, for attorneys the exterior design of the building is irrelevant. The only people who look up in Midtown, New York City are tourists and architects. No client will refuse to retain your firm because of what the exterior of your office building looks like.
2. What’s your real budget?
It is common to keep an exact number at the forefront of your mind when looking for space. A lot of the time self-doubt and hesitance sets in, therefore, we become rigid with the idea of what we can handle. We want to feel secure and know for sure what we can handle in terms of finances.
It is always important to move quickly when it comes to real estate. When you see something you like, chances are that another person is also looking at it.
If you find a space that stretches your budget, it is okay to acquire it as long as it is done responsibly. Especially if your practice is growing rapidly, going a little beyond your budget may work out in a shorter time than expected.
Time and time again we’ve seen that attorneys who take the nicer space play a “bigger game”. As compared to their colleagues who play it safe, the attorneys who stretch not only find a way to pay for the extra expense, but they grow their practices much more rapidly.
Figuring out a budget isn’t easy, but if you set a range that allows you to stretch it, it allows you more options to choose from in terms of office space.
3. What services must your practice have?
As you decide on budget, you also have to think about the services your firm needs to operate efficiently. This includes phone, internet, office equipment, and so forth. Even things as simple as coffee are something to contemplate.
These services should be grouped into three categories:
- What you absolutely require.
- What would be nice to have.
- What you can definitely live without.
When looking at different office options, in order to compare “apples to apples” you need to really understand what is included as part of the deal. If the services your firm absolutely requires are not included (or are inadequate), then you will have to pay for these things on your own. One or two of these items can significantly increase the cost of your law office rental.
Think about a potential Midtown shared office space. It is typical for internet and phone service to be included into your rental agreement. For companies in the business of renting space, they typically have the best service providers.
Perks such as internet service are often included in a written agreement for sublet office space. The only downside is that it will only be as good as the shared space is willing to purchase.
If your firm uses more innovative ways to stay organized, a slow internet service may likely only cause a headache instead of being of use to you. Professional grade internet can have very high costs and may become an added expense if your shared office provider’s services are inadequate.
4. What kind of people do you want around you?
Collaborating in your office as a lawyer is key to solidifying long lasting business relationships. These relationships provide you with knowledge and expertise that you may not have, but is easily accessible from other attorneys.
Your firm may be big enough to have this collaborative environment on its own. Maybe you just don’t care to be around other lawyers. For the rest of us, it makes the most sense to find Midtown shared office space.
Shared office spaces that don’t focus on a particular profession can often be very mixed.
Many Manhattan sublet offices have lawyers are are readily available to collaborate. Some office situations may even have a large number of small firm tenants. It’s even more common though for the office provider to only care about collecting rent and not promote collaboration among the attorneys.
Executive suites can be a more collaborative environment, but unless you rent from an executive suite for law firms, you may find an odd mix of clientele ranging from traders to tailors. Different professionals have different work habits that don’t always lend well to sharing space attorneys, who require quiet and, above all, privacy.
We secret shop our competitors often and in the Insider’s Guide to Renting the Perfect Law Office, we’ve shared some of the astonishing things we’ve witnessed.