For some law firms in Caboolture there have been financial challenges due to economic instability brought on by the current pandemic. However, there have been some unanticipated cost savings since we went into lockdown in early 2020.
Some solicitors in Australia faced financial problems due to pay freezes, cuts in salary, temporary layoffs or even being made redundant. However, as COVID cases reduce in most areas of our nation some law firms are experiencing financial benefits stemming from operational and behavioural changes that were brought on by the pandemic.
For these law firms the cost of providing legal services has reduced. Here is how some lawyers and law firms have had an unexpected financial win due to the pandemic.
1) Travelling to your Legal Office
If you are a Caboolture lawyer working from home, you no longer needed to do the daily commute to your office. Working from home meant reduced travel which produced savings on petrol and associated vehicle expenses. There was also no need to buy coffee for your colleagues, drinks on Friday afternoon, networking lunches and you had the option to make your own lunch at home to reduce expenses even further.
2) Law Firm Attire
If you have been in the city or a major regional hub like Caboolture lately, you might have noticed a lower number of people dressed in office attire than before the pandemic started. Some lawyers have transitioned back to working from an office or under a flexible working model between their home and work location. However, the transition back to normal office attire may have been slower for some people. If you have been working from home yourself, you might have noticed yourself buying less office clothes in the last six months. You are not alone.
In general, the costs of showing for work every day have been reduced for some Caboolture Lawyers during the pandemic.
3) Potential Tax Savings
For Caboolture Lawyers working from home, there are potential tax savings. For most people the ATO allows you to claim a deduction of 52 cents for each hour you work from home for the work-related expenses you incur for additional running expenses. This covers power, internet, office furniture and so on. If you follow the actual cost method, you could potentially claim more than the default amount.
4) Savings on Office Space
For some Caboolture Solicitors working from home meant the opportunity to divest themselves of expensive floor space. Leasing office space is a significant investment for many law firms. When the pandemic started there was a swift transition to consulting with clients either virtually or by phone. This negated the need for office space as the meeting could take place wherever there was a quiet place with room for a desk and phone.
Subsequently, some law firms terminated their leases and moved to a virtual operating model whilst others took the opportunity to sub lease space or reduce their floor space. At this time hot desks are not recommended under current COVID rules; however, we may see a rise in the popularity of flexible working models including hot desks post COVID.
For other law firms there has been the opportunity to renegotiate their lease. With a number of businesses permanently closing due to the economic downtime there has been an increase in vacant office space. Less demand for office space has given some Caboolture lawyers a chance to reduce their office rent.
Additional savings for Lawyers
Saving money on travel, office wear, tax and leasing space is a great win for those who value more money in their pocket, but the real win for some Caboolture Law Firms is operating efficiency.
It is not often that lawyers will question their day to day operating model as serving the needs of their clients most often takes precedence. COVID-19 required law firms to question “the way things got done”.
Some law firms who quickly embraced technology such as Zoom, DocuSign or collaboration platforms such as Slack, were able to achieve operational gains in efficiency and improved client experience.
Post COVID the test will be, how to take the best of what we have learnt during this challenging time to improve our operating model in the future? Reducing operating costs for our law firm, expenses for our lawyers whilst also enhancing client engagement. After all, if a law firm can spend less on leasing, they may be able to invest more in how they might enhance their customer experience.