Over the past year legal teams from all around the world have made the switch from in-person operations to working from home, with legal professionals discovering the pros and cons of remote working. The switch to remote working has certainly had its benefits: for example, a recent study performed by LOEB Leadership indicated that 67% of legal professionals would prefer to continue working remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and 92% of respondents felt that they were still able to meet their clients’ expectations while working from home.
However, working remotely has also had its challenges. The pandemic has also highlighted many of the issues that legal professionals have experienced while working remotely, which can certainly affect their job performance and relationships with clients if not addressed. Read on to learn more about how you and your legal team can overcome many of the challenges associated with working remotely.
Reach Out to Your Team
According to the LOEB Leadership survey mentioned above, a major source of concern amongst legal professionals was job security and uncertainty. Of the professionals surveyed, 33% expressed concern that they might lose their job, and 16% of employees stated that their firm was not providing enough support to help them ease their pandemic- and job-related stress. In this time of uncertainty, the fear of losing a job or the stress of not performing well enough can be strong enough to affect any legal professional’s job performance.
While it’s more difficult to check in with a member of your legal team who is working remotely than it would be to casually drop by their office in an in-person setting, the benefits are the same. Reaching out to members of your team frequently (but not so much that they feel smothered) is a good way to make them feel comfortable and secure. Consider scheduling calls or virtual chats to check in, ask them what’s working or what isn’t working, and solicit their advice on how you can help. Making your legal team feel respected and heard is always a good idea — and it’s extra important when they’re working remotely.
Encourage Healthy Work-Life Balance
It’s hard enough to write a legal brief t or a closing argument when you’re working in the office — but when you’re working from home and surrounded by all the comforts and distractions of modern life, it can feel ten times harder. Between the interruptions from spouses, pets, and children, it’s no wonder that 20% of female respondents — upon whom childcare demands are disproportionately placed — stated that they were considering leaving their firm. Working remotely has made it hard for legal professionals to establish an effective work-life balance.
If you’re a legal professional trying to improve your legal team’s remote working performance, start by drawing firm boundaries as to when you’re on and off the clock. Although the boundaries between work time and personal time can easily blur at home, it’s important to stick to them to avoid fatigue or burnout. One way to maintain these boundaries, according to Paul Bennett, a partner at Bennett Briegal, is to delay any late-night or early morning emails from sending until office hours or to include a message acknowledging that you don’t expect a response until office hours begin. It’s a simple tip to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and inform your team that their personal lives are important to you, too.
Reduce Unnecessary Expenses
When your legal team is making the switch to remote working, it’s reasonable to feel uneasy about your firm’s financial performance. A great way to minimize your fears is by reducing unnecessary expenses that you don’t need when your team is working from home. In some cases, this can look like canceling a big holiday party and replacing it with a less expensive, more intimate Zoom party or trivia night for your team. In other cases, it could look like saving money from your firm’s travel budget by meeting with clients virtually instead of face-to-face.
Another good way to reduce unnecessary expenses is to invest in a lawyer time and billing software program that can help save your legal team time and money. Products such as LawBillity can help save your firm 30 or more hours a month in administrative time and boost your revenue by 20% by providing time-tracking tools, invoice generation and payment, and much more. Consider adopting a product that can help your legal team save time and money, and then use some of your extra savings to help boost your team’s morale. Saving money and improving your team’s performance? It’s a win-win.
Give Your Team the Tools They Need
Just because working remotely is the new normal doesn’t mean that your legal team began their work-from-home journey with an effective and comfortable space in which to work from home. Ensure that your legal team is set up with the tools they need to participate in video calls with a strong Internet connection, clear webcam, and high-quality headphones. And don’t forget about cybersecurity and technology: although it’s likely that your team is familiar with secure logins and handling encrypted documents, they might not have paper shredders in their home offices or be familiar with how to address technical issues without the help of an IT professional.
By giving your team the tools they need to succeed — whether it’s a paper shredder or an additional stipend to help improve their virtual connectivity issues — you can help your team spend less time troubleshooting and more time billing clients from the comfort of their own home.
Use Time and Billing Software to Improve Your Legal Team’s Remote Working Performance
Working from home has its own stresses and difficulties — but if they’re addressed properly, your legal team can be just as effective working from home as they are working inside the office. If you’re looking to reduce unnecessary expenses and help your team do the best work possible, try a 14-day free trial of LawBillity today to see how it can boost your legal team’s performance.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help you learn more about how working remotely doesn’t have to slow you or your legal team down.