1. Employee Health comes first.
A law firm’s treatment of their employees speaks volumes to their core values. White collar employees all over the country are paying extra close attention to how the management treats them. With the COVID-19 news inescapable, employees are hypersensitive to their response. Law firms should show their employees that their health and safety come before anything else. Employee anxiety and fear are real and ignoring it will foster bad will.
2. Client health comes a close second.
When you welcome your clients into your office, they presume they are in a safe environment. However, when you interact with your clients face-to-face, you cannot guarantee you are not putting them at risk for exposure to COVID-19. Many law firms have elderly clients who are at risk of death if they contract COVD-19. Given the nature of this virus, you may already be infected but not know it. Thus, you could transmit COVID-19 to your clients without knowing it. Moreover, having your clients come into your office requires them to leave their homes, further exposing them.
3. Community health comes third.
Having an open office means you are inviting the community into your space. This includes deliveries, cleaners, etc. It’s impossible to responsibly practice social distancing with an open office. The people who interact with you, your staff, and your clients, could either be carrying the virus or could contract if from your office.
4. It’s impossible to know the extent of a COVID-19 outbreak in your community.
Given the transmitability of COVID-19 and the lack of testing available, its unfortunately impossible to know how prevalent it is at this stage. Medical professionals now agree that asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus has fueled outbreaks. For example, it appears that a Massachusetts coronavirus cluster with at least 82 cases was started by people who were not yet showing symptoms, and more than half a dozen studies have shown that people without symptoms are causing substantial amounts of infection. Due to these factors, closing your office is the only 100% safe decision.
5. An outbreak at your office is a business killer.
Lastly, businesses should close their physical office given the risk law firms run by remaining open. Imagine if reaction your law firm would receive if a client contracted COVID-19, and suspects it came from you or your staff. At the very least, this rumor would hurt your law firm’s reputation.
Now is our moment to be leaders in the white-color workforce. Instead of being the last industry to implement remote options for employees and clients, let’s lead the charge and set a responsible example.