John Espley, LEAP UK CEO writes about the rise of remote working and the long-term benefits it can bring to a law firm.
The culture of remote working is fast becoming the norm for most companies. There are occasions when remote working is a necessity, for example when there are travel problems, bad weather, flooding, power outages, health issues or office closures.
During times of disruption, it is essential that your practice and staff are able to continue working as normally as possible. By ensuring your practice is able to function when people are working remotely, you will help protect your business from external threats.
Forward thinking practices are implementing remote working policies to ensure business continuity and productivity – empowering employees to continue performing business-critical operations remotely and managing business as usual. Implementing the correct technology is one factor that is playing a vital part in helping to facilitate this move to working from home.
Cloud technology is by no means new and has become a game changer in that people can be just as productive at home as in the office. Cloud-based practice management software enables a legal professional to work anywhere and anytime and from any connected device.
A practice needs legal software that:
• Enables full management of matters and access to key information away from the office.
• Allows realtime collaboration with colleagues across various locations.
• Provides smartphone apps that allow your team to work and stay informed anywhere.
• Keeps your practice fully operational even in exceptional circumstances.
Remote working is not just about a contingency if people can’t physically be in an office. It’s the burgeoning trend of making staff more able to perform their roles without the shackles of a daily commute, enabling them to work from outside the office and giving them flexibility which can mean your team is more fulfilled and motivated.
The next generation of lawyers demand this use of remote and mobile technology and won’t consider working for a firm that does not have a laptop and mobile dominated technology structure with remote working as part of the practice culture.
Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” about remote working:
• Have remote working as part of your business culture – make it the ‘norm’.
• Realise that a happy remote worker is a productive team worker.
• Fully include people as active participants in video conference calls.
• Make colleagues aware of your schedule.
• Communicate goals and objectives throughout your whole team.
• Realise when it’s best to use email/chat/phone/video conferencing
• Help staff understand how the technology works and how to set up new systems at home
• Assume that because someone is at home that they are on the sofa watching the TV
• Let someone be the only remote person on a poor-quality video call.
• Leave people out of key office conversations or communications.
• Leave it solely to the individual working remotely to ensure that their technology and software is secure.
Developing a remote strategy for your practice makes it easier for legal professionals to collaborate without being limited to their office desks. Remote working makes it irrelevant where work is done and gives added flexibility, be it office, home, on the move or at court.
LEAP Legal Software has been helping small to mid-sized law firms to become more efficient and profitable for more than 25 years and has more than 14,000 users in the UK.