Remote working for legal firms pie chart

Remote working for legal firms was something of an aspiration even before the advent of Covid-19 and lockdown. Now it’s turning into a must have.

The benefits are obvious:

  • Firms that embrace remote work have 25% lower employee turnover.
  • People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be
    happy and productive.
  • That’s why, globally, 52% of employees work from home at least once a week.

The benefits are there for all to see – but, how to you get the ball rolling? Virtual meetings, remote collaboration and teleconferencing make it all sound complex and costly. It needn’t be. Take a look at these six simple steps.

1. Connect everyone up.

This is the key. Workplace culture used to emanate from the workplace itself. Now many are working in isolation, we have to find new methods of maintaining and growing business culture. The minimum requirements for connectivity are:

  • An integrated telephone system that operates with the same efficiency as the office-based one.
  • Integrated, business-wide email.
  • Good home broadband connections.
  • A good quality webcam.

That done, take a look at some of the software that’s on offer free or a little cost.

2. Add some free software to allow people to interact.

There are many offerings in the market. However, these appear to be the most popular:

Both Teams and Workplace allow you to create groups or specific interest teams. These are efficient methods of ensuring that the right information is getting to the right people.

3. Grab everyone’s attention.

Remote working for legal firms woman in zoom meeting

With this type of internal notice board in place, it pays to use it effectively. Post your ideas, hold interactive conferences and record them. Use regular documents or images and infographics. Post weekly or monthly reports so that everyone knows where they are up to.

4. Make good use of live video.

Video conferencing is an incredible way to manage remote employees and keep them organised. Initially some are a little reluctant when in front of the camera, so you may need to put them at ease. In terms of remote working for legal firms, video calling is the next best thing to being there in the office. It has all the immediacy of being together without the logistical, cost or health implications of a large in-person gathering.

5. Allow clients to contact you live.

When teams are working remotely, it’s not just their connection with colleagues that can suffer. Maintaining relationships with suppliers, partners and customers is just as important – and just as difficult if there’s no way to meet in person.

Resources such as Teams and Zoom allow people from different organisations to work together on projects in the same shared space. The same applies to dealing with clients. Using video communication with clients is the nearest we have to the face-to-face personal touch and it goes some way to addressing the impersonality of email or conventional mail.

6. Use cloud-based practice management software.

Well, I guess you knew this one was coming! Practice management solutions such as LawCloud from LawWare keep you and your work organised. They allow you to access all your casefiles and documents from just about anywhere that has an internet connection.

Provided at a low-fixed monthly cost, there is no need to worry about capital expenditure for your remote workforce. No need for upgrades, replacement servers or even maintaining expensive equipment. With in-built business continuity planning and disaster recovery, not to mention a Fort Knox style security environment, your firm’s information will be safe & secure.

We all hope and pray that lockdowns will soon become things of the dim and distant past. In the meantime, take a look at these 6 pointers to ease the burden.

Mike O’Donnell, January 2021.

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