3 Questions Small Professional Service Firms Need to Consider Before Committing to an Office Space
Looking for a new office is an exciting yet stressful endeavor, especially if you’re a small firm or work solo. It’s important you find a space that will maximize your efficacy and give your business a proper chance to flourish.
Small firms often don’t have the budget or time to maintain their own office, hence the rise of coworking spaces. Coworking spaces offer all the amenities of a standard office (receptionist, private offices, conference rooms, etc.) but they are shared among multiple firms. Ultimately, they allow service professionals to have an office without the hassle that comes with running one themselves.
How can you tell which coworking office space will provide your business the best opportunity to succeed? Ask yourself the following three questions when reviewing your office space options.
Does the Office Help You Attract and Retain Clients and Talent?
When you’re considering an office space, it’s best to not only think about its usefulness to you but also about those who will be spending time there — specifically your clients, prospects and, if you’re hiring, potential employees.
Who are they? What are their expectations? What impression do you want to make on them?
As a business owner, you likely know the answers. For example, a solo practitioner might displease clients by bringing them to a coworking space that has an open floor plan, glass doors and constant foot traffic. Clients seeking an attorney are likely looking for a private space to discuss their legal troubles. And when a personal financial planner is discussing the private finances of a client, a client walking into an office bustling with people networking and drinking beer (as many coworking spaces offer) may not feel their needs are being taken seriously.
When expectations don’t mesh with reality, you risk disappointing your clients, prospects and job candidates. On the other hand, if your office is quiet, private and professional, clients and prospects will be more at ease that they’ve come to the right place. The type of environment where you decide to set up shop matters. Consider your audience before signing on the dotted line.
Does the Office Promote Productivity?
Everyone works differently. Some people like background noise while others like silence. Some want no distractions and others welcome them. It’s important to know what environment you best function in before you commit to a space.
As coworking spaces are popular among professional service firms with only one or a few employees, it’s important to note that each space offers varying levels of privacy. Open environments are the current trend among coworking spaces, a design style that’s meant to foster collaboration. This design puts many different businesses in the same space and encourages networking. Unfortunately, those whose work requires intense concentration — like financial planners, consultants, attorneys and accountants — will often find the open space to be a hindrance to their productivity.
When looking at available office space in a coworking environment, check to make sure the surroundings match the way you work. Is it quiet? Does everyone else appear to be working on their own? Is there a private area you can always go to? Obviously, not everyone cherishes the same traits in a work environment, but it’s important to consider your needs in this department and whether the space meets those needs.
Is the Office Strategically Located?
For most professional services, being near your clients is an advantage. While modern-day technology makes communication simple, the personal touch of meeting your client in person has big benefits.
Michael Massari, Caesars Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of National Meetings and Events, says meetings are still the most effective way to capture the attention of participants, engage them in the conversation and drive productive collaboration.
“If we don’t continue to nurture strong and positive personal relationships with our clients and coworkers, we won’t build trust, understanding, or a sense of a shared mission – all of which are critical elements to successful partnerships and business success.”
If meeting clients in person is a big part of your profession, it pays to be close to them. Spending your entire day driving into the city for a single in-office visit with a client isn’t productive nor does it help your bottom line. Positioning your business in the geographic center of current and potential clients will improve the productivity and visibility of your firm.
Where you set up shop also has an impact on your firm’s image. Located in the suburbs of Chicago? Downtown clients will likely choose a closer, “more successful” firm. A centralized location builds an impression of accomplishment, an important trait of any professional service firm.
Coworking spaces offer a less expensive way to work in a downtown high-rise and will help you land more business simply based on your firm’s image. Of course, some coworking spaces offer virtual office services which provide the credibility boost of a high-rise address without needing to physically set up shop at the location. Whichever way you go, having a downtown office location is an important advantage.
If you’re finding that the average coworking space is lacking the privacy, professionalism or location your firm requires, head here to see how we can help with your office hunt.
Our impressive Michigan Avenue coworking spaces offer a professional environment with private offices built for productivity.