You want to do right by the clients you work for, and often that involves having the best quality possible when it comes to professionalism and experience. Often law professionals don’t think too much, however, about how your office itself portrays these qualities. When your office is well-designed, it positively impacts both your quality of work and your customers’ level of comfort and opinion of you. It broadcasts the kind of lawyer you are—for better or worse!
Bring in a Professional Designer
A big thing to consider when getting ready to design an office is if you can fit a professional designer in the budget. Implementing online advice is always better than nothing, but having someone who knows design in and out and can help communicate exactly how you want clients to feel through the design of your workspace is an unparalleled advantage. A good professional designer will get the work done right the first time, so you’re less likely to have to rearrange or rip things out later. They can also make suggestions, at times, that end up saving you money when talking about alternative materials as well as furniture hunting.
Build Conference Rooms
Right next to the waiting room, conference rooms are one the most important rooms in a law office to design well. That is because, unless you have your potential clients and clients meet with you in your personal office, this is the place they will spend most of their time. Personal offices can easily get cluttered and disorganized, lessening customers’ confidence in your professionalism. They’re also harder to utilize technology in—unlike a well-designed conference room, which should have an easy way to project video conferencing as well as important information for the client.
Keep Clients in Mind
In general, everything about the way your office is designed should benefit your clients and potential clients. That means minimal distractions, private but open spaces, and bright but comforting light—and yet also should keep in mind that design choices need to be communicating professionalism, experience, and competency as well. Having law degrees displayed in an area the client will see, for example, increases their level of trust that you can truly help them. Even the layout of your office should ensure clients don’t feel either claustrophobic or lost. When considering all of these other aspects of design, it should always go back to the client.
Furniture is a big aspect of office design, and should be chosen depending on each space to communicate a different mood and level of concentration vs. comfort accordingly. Comfortable, back-supporting office chairs that easily move in a conference room is important. But if they’re too squishy or high-backed, they can actually make it easier to fall asleep or get distracted! In outdoor spaces, sunlight can damage wood furniture. Get furniture made specifically for the outdoors to put in these places. Inside a building, however, sunlight can give your personal office or waiting room space an older but more comforting feel. Squishy, relaxing furniture in the waiting room is also a smart idea, of course, to lower any anxiety a client may have before the meeting.
What you put on the walls and next to furniture communicates a lot to your clients as well. Besides just a law degree, it may be a good idea to have professional but interesting decorations in waiting rooms to give potential clients a talking piece, and keep such things minimal in conference rooms to ensure concentration. In your own personal office, displaying family photos and other personable items can also increase trust, as it makes you a more personable lawyer clients will feel they can open up to and rely on.
Think About Lighting
Lighting is so important but so often forgotten. Your clients and you need light to meet under in a practical way, but also to set the mood of the office. The hue of your light fixtures and lamps go a long way in deciding how people feel under it, so choosing office lights is essential to honing a good client experience. Natural light, however, is even more important. If you have an office that obstructs windows or worse, doesn’t have windows at all, your workspace will feel more like a cave than an office. Make sure your curtains or blinds are open, your window glass is regularly cleaned, and your furniture is situated to enjoy the most of the light!
The shade of your walls and colors included in your furniture and décor will determine a lot about how your office feels as well. The psychology of color is amazingly effective if utilized well and used intentionally. Striking a balance in whatever colors you choose to work with and making sure the shade you choose communicates the right mood. This is another good reason to consult with a professional designer in choosing the right color palette for your office.
Use Space Efficiently
Space is one more important factor to consider in your office design because in the end, you will be working and spending most of your day there. Space involves both the square footage of your office that is open and available for movement, but also refers to the feeling of space, which can be manipulated according to your design choices. For instance, the color white can make a space feel much bigger than it actually is—as can incorporating glass as walls within the office. Getting office space organized of course is an even more straightforward option; minimize on clutter and unneeded items.
What you do with your office should always be customized to your clients and your circumstances. There are general tips, however, that can help any lawyer make the most of their office space. Take a look into these factors that can make a big difference in your office design to make the correct decisions for your office, and you will develop a much clearer plan moving forward.
Read this next: Why Does Digital Marketing Matter for Law Firms?