Currently, remote work is no longer considered an option but an urgent need for companies in the face of the COVID-19 quarantine situation. This is because law firms, and businesses in other sectors, cannot afford to stop operations until the pandemic comes to an end. Therefore, organizations must quickly coordinate their employees to start working from home to cope with this crisis in which offices cannot open their doors.
However, we must understand that the entire world has not been going through a global crisis like the one we are experiencing today for many decades. Therefore, although remote work is imminent, most companies do not know how to implement this new remote management model.
Step by step to implement remote work from home
Implementing remote work in companies should be a fairly methodical and planned process since it is not about sending all the personnel to their respective homes and waiting for them to continue working as if nothing happened.
To prevent the possible risks of teleworking, it is necessary to approach this issue with a maximum sense of responsibility, from the management of the company to each employee, taking into account all the critical aspects for this new work modality (cost management, human talent, digital tools, computer equipment, work methodologies, business objectives, organizational culture, etc.).
Here is the step by step to starting working from home or home office in a law firm:
- Make staff aware of the importance of remote work
In many cases, remote work is seen as a paid vacation or an opportunity to work less and receive the same pay. Unfortunately, this attitude is lethal to the health of the company. Therefore, the first step in a firm is to create awareness in its staff about why it is necessary to change from face-to-face work to work from home.
In this sense, each partner can have training talks with their team of lawyers to explain that, for example, teleworking is the only way in which the firm can continue to earn income during the current COVID-19 quarantine situation.
- Redesign company goals based on remote work
The post-pandemic“new normal” implies that judicial processes, and society in general, begin to function in a very different way from how they have traditionally been occurring. Faced with this new context, law firms must rethink their objectives as a company, leaving aside the objectives related, for example, to physical expansion through new offices.
Instead, it is necessary to start focusing on objectives related to digital transformation to allow 100% operational operation under the remote work model.
- Map out an action plan to implement remote work
Once staff understands the need for remote work and business objectives are focused on it, a roadmap must be designed to start the digital transformation in favor of teleworking and managing the firm during quarantine.
This action plan should be specific in terms of methodologies, types of meetings, and technologies required for working from home.
- Define work from home methodologies
For remote work to function properly, methodologies must be implemented that allow maintaining operational synergy between partners, lawyers, and clients from a distance, without the need for any type of face-to-face meeting, at least during this long quarantine period.
In this sense, one of the best methodologies for work from home is called Kanban, which is based on the following 4 principles:
- It can be implemented immediately, without the need for previous preparatory steps.
- The improvements that are applied in the processes must be incremental, the idea is to evolve little by little.
- Current roles and processes must be respected. This methodology does not seek to change the things that were being done before, only to optimize them.
- Leadership should come from everyone involved, not from just one figure. The idea is that each partner and lawyer lead internal improvement initiatives.
- Establish constant video meetings during teleworking
One of the most important activities within the Kanban methodology is constant meetings. These allow the work team to be synchronized and communicated. For example, in law firms, the idea is to establish three types of meetings online for remote work:
- Daily meetings or daily meetings lasting about 15 minutes at the beginning of each working day. The objective is that partners and lawyers coordinate their activities for the day.
- Weekly meetings for partners and lawyers to analyze the results and progress achieved during that remote work week.
- Monthly meetings with a strategic approach at the business level, the objective of which is to define the firm’s objectives and propose action plans.
These types of meetings can also be applied with clients to advance their legal projects remotely. On the other hand, before starting each meeting (with partners, lawyers, or clients), it is advisable to prepare a minute to guide during the video call.
- Choosing the right technologies for remote work
Without a doubt, the most important thing for remote work is digital technology. The computer programs that work in the cloud are what allow teleworking to be carried out. Without them, it would not be possible in any way.
Fortunately, very powerful teleworking tools have been developed in the legal tech sector, making it easy for law firms to remotely operate 100% remotely. Two clear examples are the following platforms:
- Case tracking: a software specialized in the management and monitoring remote employees This is possible thanks to the program connecting and synchronizing with the web pages of the Judicial Powers of different countries, which facilitates remote work related to the judicial area.
- TimeBillingX: a tool that automates the entire electronic billing process, based on its function of digitizing the record of hours worked by each partner, lawyer, project, and client. This facilitates remote work related to the administrative area of the firm.
- Analyze and improve remote work processes in the company
From the moment that remote work is already fully operational with its respective methodologies, meetings, and technologies, it is of utmost importance to begin to assess how well the law firm is adapting to this new normal. This implies constantly analyzing the results of the processes, looking for possible errors, identifying areas for improvement, and monitoring the productivity of partners and lawyers. All this to make decisions that allow optimizing work from home to its maximum level of performance.
Although this is the “last step” to effectively implement remote work, it does not mean that management ends here. It’s the opposite. Constantly analyzing and improving processes means that the cycle of continuous improvement on teleworking is maintained over time. As a result, it is always possible to further optimize each activity by providing greater agility, increasing information security, reducing management times, reducing costs, increasing productivity, etc.