The legal industry has been slowly adopting remote work policies for years, with a newfound emphasis on employee wellness. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced an immediate and widespread implementation of remote work across the industry. With uncertain timelines for a complete return to the office, attorneys and staff are beginning to question whether remote work could be a permanent option.
As a leader in a law firm or legal team, it is your responsibility to manage your remote workforce effectively in the near and long term. Adopting remote work policies makes it important to ensure that your team works productively and efficiently. One effective way to do this is by using an attorney time tracking app.
This article discusses the challenges of managing remote employees and tips for adjusting and thriving as a remote legal team, including using technology to monitor productivity and streamline communication. By implementing these tips and tools, you can manage your remote team effectively and achieve success in a remote work environment.
Challenges of Managing Law Firm Employees Work Remotely
Managing law firm employees remotely presents several challenges, with the major ones being:
Work/Life Balance and Time Tracking
Remote workers lack physical oversight and are likely to overwork, leading to burnout and reduced productivity. As an employer, you should prioritize work and encourage them to take breaks and stop working at a reasonable time. You can use a lawyer time tracking app to help you monitor employees’ working hours and ensure they take breaks as needed.
To further support work/life balance, consider offering alternative work schedules and styles, such as part-time or flex work, which can give staff members more control over their workday. This approach can help them achieve better work/life balance while still meeting the demands of their job.
Lack of Oversight
Law firm remote work poses unique challenges, one of the biggest being the need for more oversight. Since remote employees work outside the traditional office setting, you may fear they will slack off or overwork.
To ensure that remote workers are productive and not overworking, track metrics that matter to the firm and check in with them regularly. Doing so will give insight into how your employees work and provide feedback and support opportunities.
In addition, provide employees with access to the necessary technology for remote work, including laptops, internet connectivity, and collaboration tools. Providing the essential technology and training on how to use it ensures that the staff is comfortable working remotely and can work productively. It’s also necessary to be aware of any legal requirements related to remote work and ensure compliance with those regulations.
Communication and Collaboration Challenges
Managing law firm employees working remotely presents communication and collaboration challenges, such as a lack of oversight, difficulty completing tasks, and the need for practical communication tools.
To address these challenges, you should use legal time tracking software with tasks and workflows to guide staff, set clear expectations and performance goals, and utilize cloud-based systems that allow for real-time updates. You should also use professional communication tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom to foster collaboration between remote staff members.
Tips on How to Manage Workers
There are various measures you can take to manage your remote legal work effectively, including:
Maintaining Consistent Communication
Maintaining consistent communication is essential for a successful remote legal team. Regular meetings and open, transparent communication can foster strong relationships between team members. Video meetings and chats are the most common approaches for synchronous communication, while regular meeting schedules can help maintain consistent communication with remote teams.
Additionally, you should focus on reducing affinity distance by switching remote communication to asynchronous methods such as email or messaging apps. This will ensure that all team members have the opportunity to contribute their ideas and opinions.
Maintaining a Regular Meeting Schedule
Like consistent communication, a regular meeting schedule can be a valuable strategy for managing remote legal teams effectively.
Communication is critical for remote teams; regular meetings can facilitate that communication. It ensures team members are informed about the latest developments and work harmoniously towards a common goal. In addition, by meeting regularly, remote legal workers can build stronger relationships and work more effectively together.
Regular meetings also help remote legal workers stay engaged and motivated. It gives them a sense of belonging and inclusion, boosting morale and productivity. Meetings can also facilitate problem-solving and decision-making, leading to better outcomes.
Furthermore, regular meetings can help remote legal teams align with the company’s goals and objectives. It provides an opportunity to convey critical information and expectations and solicit feedback and input from the team members. This alignment ensures everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.
However, it’s important to balance the benefits of regular meetings with the need for productivity. More meetings can be counterproductive and can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed or overworked. Therefore, finding the right balance is crucial and ensuring that meetings are productive, valuable, and not excessive.
Giving Remote Associates Access to Practice Management Tools
Giving remote associates access to practice management tools enables them to collaborate and share documents securely, access case details and updates remotely, and organize important case information. These tools also provide the ability to work from anywhere, allowing attorneys to access law firm data from any location via an internet-enabled device.
By utilizing attorney time tracking apps, along with practice management software can also help solve data mismanagement issues through a centralized system for storing and managing client and business data. This allows for improved organization of documents and information and secures sharing with law firm employees, clients, co-counsel, and experts.
Private cloud platforms can also use virtual desktops to give teams access to law firm software anytime, anywhere, making it easier for remote legal teams to stay connected. Providing remote legal teams access to practice management tools is essential for managing a successful remote team and improving overall productivity.
Writing a Work from Home Policy that Addresses Data Security Best Practices
Your work-from-home policy should outline timekeeping expectations and guide to how to use the law firms timekeeping app. It can include a requirement to track time accurately using the timekeeping software, which can be accessed remotely to track billable hours, expenses, and other project management details. This can help ensure that timekeeping is accurate and transparent, which is especially important for billing clients and tracking employee productivity.
Use the Best Time Keeping App for Legal Professionals
If you’re a legal professional looking for a reliable and convenient timekeeping app, look no further. With LawBillity, you can easily track time and expenses for legal matters from any mobile device, online or offline. Moreover, it has built-in legal features designed specifically for law firms and attorneys, including trust accounting and client invoicing.
By using LawBillity, you can streamline your legal practice and save time on administrative tasks, allowing you to focus on what you do best – practicing law. So why wait? Try LawBillity for free for 14 days and experience the benefits of an innovative timekeeping solution specifically for legal professionals.