With a ban on sporting events, the movies, sitting down to eat at restaurants and nearly all other activities, going into the office for work was one of the few reasons people had to leave the house. Though working from home can do wonders for productivity, it can also be an isolating experience for some. With the short to medium term future being uncertain, people are not sure just how long this could last and this uncertainty doesn't sit well with many people. Law is a stressful job as it is so it's important to check in regularly on your staff to ensure they're coping with the changes.
As discussed in our blog last week staying connected with your staff is extremely important, not only for productivty, but also to mitigate some of the effects of isolation. Positive social connections are essential for our mental health and can be help us deal with stressful events. Currently we're being forced to physically distance ourselves from eachother, but it's important that this doesn't spill over into the social aspect of your legal practice. Ensure that your staff are still talking to each other, not just in a collaborative sense, but in a casual sense too. Encourage staff to video call over their lunch breaks, or to have a morning coffee together before getting stuck into work. Social interactions with colleagues can greatly improve a persons mood going into the work day.
Steer conversation away from the negative
Maintaining perspective is highly important. It's reasonable for people to be concerned about the pandemic, but the negative tends to be what most people focus on. Try to remind your staff that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus and develop a vaccine as quickly as possible. This may not seem effective, but some people just need a little reassurance to negate some of the fear.
Provide your team with the work information they need
Staff should know what is expected of them and how they should be going about their day. Though transitioning to a home working environment may seem simple enough, for some people it can be a stressful experience and regaining structure can be tough. The daily office routine is something many people are set in and when this routine is broken it can be hard for them to re-adapt. That's why outlining a simple plan with each staff members daily or weekly expectations can be beneficial. This will help to remove some of the stress and confusion from their daily routine, giving them back their sense of control, helping feel more confident in their new situation.
Watch out for your staff
It's important to monitor your staff to see if their work may be slipping. A reduction in quality or quantity or work may be a sign that they aren't doing so well. If you have the right legal practice technology, like LawMaster, you can see whose billable hours might be falling off using reporting features. This can then help you see who you might need to check up on to see how you may be able to help them.
Looking out for each other is highly important in these uncertain times. Don't leave it to chance, check up on everyone in your law practice and help each other get through it.