Remote work is the latest trend in business and a lot of companies are adopting it. There are so many great benefits to letting your employees work remotely because it cuts your overheads by allowing you to work with a smaller office space, and in a lot of cases, productivity will increase. A lot of people find that they work more effectively if they can set their own schedule and create their own work environment which means that, as long as they don’t actually need to be in the office to do their job, most people will be more efficient working from home. It is worth noting, however, that some people struggle with self-motivation so it’s important that you consider the working styles of employees when you’re deciding whether they should work at home or not.
The other major benefit of remote work is that people are available around the clock and they can work outside of normal office hours which is very beneficial in a lot of industries. Communication with clients is so important in the legal industry and remote working can help to improve it a lot, which is why a lot of law firms are starting to adopt the practice. However, there are a lot of specific challenges when trying to implement remote working in a law firm and if the transition isn’t smooth, your business may suffer. If you think that remote working might be beneficial to your law firm, here are some important things to keep in mind if you want to get it right.
Invest In The Right Tools
The most important thing to remember when trying to implement remote workers in your law firm is that your employees need access to all of the right tools. On a basic level, this covers things like a good internet connection because they’ll be accessing a lot of information and contacting clients online. If they’re using an outdated broadband connection that is incredibly slow, they’re not going to be efficient at all. The same goes for laptops and tablets, they need to be relatively new models so they can run all of the software that they need to without grinding to a halt.
Beyond that, there are a lot of specific tools that they will need to do their jobs effectively outside of the office. The most important thing is the right legal software for managing case files and tracking communications with clients. In a typical law office, you will already be using legal software to manage all of your paperwork and help create reports etc. but if you’re going to be using remote workers, you need to ensure that it’s up to date and it allows for working outside of the office. Be sure to use legal software that allows easy access to any relevant documents from multiple devices outside of the office. If your remote employees are constantly asking for things to be emailed to them from the office, they’re not going to be very productive.
It’s so important that you invest heavily in your legal software and cloud computing systems so access to documents is always reliable, otherwise, your remote workers are going to be incredibly inefficient and they may not be able to access important details about a case that they’re working on.
Communication tools are very important as well, both for communication with coworkers and clients. When you’ve got multiple remote workers collaborating on a case, things can get very difficult and if there aren’t good lines of communication, they won’t be effective. Live chat services are great for this kind of thing because they allow people to communicate easily and send documents over to one another without having to worry about their inboxes getting filled up with endless emails. They can be very useful for clients as well if they have any quick questions that they want to ask about the case. However, the best tool for communicating with clients is video calling software. There are free services like Skype but it’s best to pay for the premium version that allows for conference calls etc.
Finally, you should invest in project management tools because it’s so much harder to collaborate on a case when half the team is out of the office. Good project management software gives everybody easy access to all of the relevant documents, charts progress, and shows deadlines. It also allows for easy communication between everybody on the team so, even though they aren’t all in the office, projects run smoothly and everybody knows exactly what progress has been made and what is left to be done. Without good project management software, you’re likely to get crossed wires and productivity will definitely suffer.
Boost Online Security
Online security is a priority in any business but it’s particularly important when you’re handling a lot of sensitive legal documents relating to clients. Hopefully, you already invest a lot of time and money into securing systems around the office but when people start working remotely, you lose a lot of control over the situation. If people are accessing these documents on their own personal computers, you need to be sure that their devices are secure. The best thing to do is have employees bring their devices to the office and get your IT team to install the right security software on them, and have a strict policy so they can only access legal documents on a device that has been cleared by you first.
It’s also important that you educate your employees on good security practices, particularly things like open wifi networks. It’s fairly common for people that work from home to go out to a cafe or a library and work from there because it can get a little claustrophobic staying in the house all day. That’s not too much of a problem in most businesses but an open wifi network like that is far more vulnerable to attacks. As a general rule, your employees shouldn’t be accessing sensitive information on open networks and if they do, they should be using a VPN to protect their devices.
Hold Regular Meetings
There is a lot of great technology that makes communication so much easier for remote workers and if you utilize live chat services, case management software, and project management programs effectively, it’s easy for your team to work well together even if they aren’t in the office together. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to get people together in the same room at all.
One of the major issues that any business has with remote workers is team morale. When people are in the office together all day long, they form good working relationships and there is a certain team spirit about the place. A lot of that gets lost when people are working remotely and often they don’t feel like they are really part of the company or that there is a positive company culture.
There are also some things that are just easier to discuss and deal with in person without having to get over the hurdles involved with remote meetings, which is why regular meetings at the office are a must. You can schedule these meetings around certain milestones within a case but you should also have regular general meetings every few weeks at least. This gives your remote workers a chance to catch up with everything that has been happening around the office and helps to build a better working relationship between all of your employees so the remote workers don’t feel separate from the rest of the company.
Give Advice On Good Remote Working Practices
Often, people find it hard to motivate themselves and work productively when they first start working from home because they fall into bad habits. But if you can give your employees some advice on good remote working practices before the transition, you will find that productivity is increased. It’s also a good idea to make the transition gradual and start people off with one or two days a week at home and the rest of the time in the office. That way, they’ll have time to adjust and find their own way of working before they move over to remote working full time.
When advising your employees about remote working, the most important thing is that they have a good working area in the home. If they’re sitting on the sofa in front of the TV, they aren’t going to get much done. They need to treat it like a normal day at the office and have a work space separate from the rest of the house. Keeping a regular schedule and working the same hours every day is important as well because it helps people to get into a working mindset. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to work 9 to 5 if that isn’t what they find most productive but they do need regular hours.
Remote working can be incredibly beneficial to your business but if you don’t implement it correctly, it can seriously damage productivity so make sure to keep these things in mind.