January 19, 2021 Articles

Reopening Offices and Restoring Profitability

Whether you are looking to reopen your office space and regain any lost profits, or boost morale within your firm, check out these tips for success.

By Michael L. Goldblatt

The resurgence of the coronavirus has stunted some firms that were already seeking to recover from the pandemic’s initial destruction. The reopening of businesses will require massive efforts by governments, businesses, and citizenry. As we have already witnessed, there have been and will continue to be complications to overcome, including a weakened economy, shortages of some supplies, and a resurgence of the virus. To help you overcome these challenges, here are some tips and resources for reopening law offices and fully restoring the profitability of practices.

Rethinking Your Office Space  

The focus here is on the actual, physical structure where you work. Consider improvements to your workplace and the building structure, such as automatic doors, door-less restrooms, improved air filtration, voice-activated elevators, and widened hallways.

Communicating

Communicate all of your anticipated plans regarding safety protocols with staff, colleagues, and clients. Letting these stakeholders know that their safety and well-being are top priorities will keep up morale and go a long way during these hectic times.

Complying

Adopt guidelines for safe practices and update them to comply with evolving regulations. If you have the staffing, appoint a “safety ambassador” and use sensors to remind employees about social distancing and good hygiene.

Marketing

Maintain marketing activities, including conducting online seminars, emailing alerts, publishing articles, and updating websites. Host special events such as virtual lunches or virtual coffee dates.

Planning

Start the recovery process by planning for your office reopening. The plan should be a comprehensive document that covers financial, operational, and technology matters. Doing this in phases, such as those implemented by courts and by most states, will help with showing what you are doing in each step of the process and your timeline for it. This plan may also be used in the future for any unforeseen circumstances that arise.

Remote Working

Consider continuing to work remotely until testing and vaccines are more widespread. Use technologies that facilitate remote working, including cloud computing, videoconferencing, and project management software. Continue to replace face-to-face gatherings with virtual meetings. Download apps to manage work schedules and employee productivity.

Remodeling

Accommodate social distancing in reception areas, workspaces, and conference rooms. If your office has a public restroom, consider implementing social distancing guidelines in there as well. Move chairs six feet apart, install plexiglass partitions on workstations, and limit the use of shared spaces as much as possible. Post signs to direct one-way traffic in hallways.

Reopening

Follow the guidance of public officials and health organizations when selecting a date to reopen your office space for in-person use. Use staggered opening dates with rotating schedules to reduce the number of people in the office at any given time. After reopening, allow remote working to continue for at-risk individuals and those with heightened anxiety, as well as for those caring for children. Make sure to plan for client meetings so that there are as few people necessary in one space as possible.

Well-Being

Adopt safety procedures such as scanning temperatures upon entering the office, installing hand sanitizing stations near entrances, and requiring continued mask usage. These procedures should be at least as restrictive as those required within your state or community. Limit the number of people in common areas like break rooms, conference rooms, and restrooms. Purchase supplies such as COVID-19 test kits (if available), disposable desk pads, hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers, and surface disinfectants for your office space.

Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic may adversely affect your firm’s operations and the ability of clients to pay their bills. To succeed in this challenging environment, adopt a plan that promotes a spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and flexibility among your work community. Review the resources listed at the end of this article to help your firm optimize profits and maintain well-being.

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Michael L. Goldblatt is a lawyer and author who has authored numerous books and articles about marketing for lawyers. 

Resources

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