The work conducted at a law firm is vital and almost always time-sensitive. You need to ensure your staff are prepared to take on this workload when they are no longer working from the office. With the announcment by the Federal Government last night that if you are capable of working from home, you should, it's time to make sure you're ready.
Ensure staff know what's expected of them
Before you move to a remote workplace, ensure that you have created a set of guidelines or processes that help staff understand what is expected of them in this new work format. These guidelines should outline each staff members role, how their work should be done and who can assist with their workload should they fall ill.
Regular communication is essential and processes to do this effectively should also be outlined. This doesn't mean that staff have to sit on video chat all day to prove that they're working. Rather, something as simple as each team starting their day with a 15 minute meeting outlining their daily focus and ending the day with a 15 minute meeting on what they achieved. This will help keep members of teams informed on what eachother will be doing while helping keep staff focused on what they need to acheive. It will also help assist with any loneliness staff may be feeling. You may even choose to have one or two days a week where staff have lunch together over video chat to help mitigate some of the isolation.
Do your staff have all the necessary hardware, e.g. phone, laptops, desktops, monitors etc? Furthermore, does his hardware provide the necessities your employees need to work? Are they capable of video calling and do they have the right Practice Management System? Having the right PMS will be paramount to the success of your legal practice. Staff have to be able to access the information they need or they simply won't be able to work. At most, they'll be able to scan over hard files and send out emails, but that's the extent of their ability to be productive. Capitalising on electric filing and storage will be extremely useful in helping your staff maintain efficiency. Some examples of features your staff will need that are our cloud-based software contains are:
Author Performance Management – Your staff should be able to easily record and review their billable hours. This is extremely important as it will improve visibility within your firm. You may not be in the same building as your team but you'll still be able to stay abreast of what they're working on. Reports can be generated from this information into dashboards. The reports generated over a period of time display document relevant information, such as a summary of goals reached, fees billed, and days worked as well as much more.
Document Management - Document management, as briefly discussed before, this will give you access to all the information you need and combines it with intelligent search and retrieval functionailty. Outlook should also be integrated with an Electronic Mailroom to scan and store all incoming invoices, correspondence or documents against a matter, entitity or multiple other options. Your Document Managmenet solution should also allow for intuitive collaboration on documents and matters between lawyers.
Client Relationship Management – Client relationship management refers to technology that works to improve a company's interactions and relationships with its current and potential clients, as well as debtors and creditors, all in one system. This objective is pursued by streamlining processes and ensuring clients are kept up-to-date, concerning their case, billing, etc. Interaction with clients is extremely important in uncertain times such as this. Putting their minds at ease can do wonders for your relationship with them.
Human Resource Management – Human resource management refers to integrated functions that work to help make human resource tasks more streamlined. An example of this is the automation of repetitive tasks to allow your admin staff to focus on more important work.
Finally ensure that every staff member has a relaible internet connection to reduce the chances of daily work interruptions.
Maintain a semblence of normality
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you should be sleeping in until 9am and working until late. If you can stick to a routine you will find that working from home will become much easier. If your team have staggered and fragmented working times, communication will fracture and workflows will begin to breakdown. It's mportant your team knows what is expected of them regarding when they should be working. These expectations should be outlined in the previously mentioned guidelines.
Make sure you're also taking regular breaks. This doesn't mean work for 10 minutes then sit on your phone for 20. Every hour or so, get up and walk around your house for a few minutes, get the blood flowing through your body. This will stop you getting stuck in a rut and you will find that you become distracted less easily afterwards. Taking steps to maintain focus will help you retain the productivity that you usually have when working from the office.
Converting to an entirely remote operation can seem intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. If you plan appropriately and utilise technology effectively your transition will be much easier. LawMaster's cloud-based technology ensures you have the access you need to work at full capacity from anywhere. To learn more about how to utilise intelligent legal software, contact us today.