Best Practices for Remote Law Firm Management 2022 During the Height of the Covid Pandemic, many law firms across the country became 100 remotely operational.
During the Height of the Covid Pandemic, many law firms across the country became 100% remotely operational. Law firms realized they could remain highly functional and productive while operating thanks to high-speed internet, digital capabilities, robust case management software, paperless document systems, and remote platforms like Zoom and DocuSign.
We now know that a law firm doesn’t “need” everyone sitting in their office cubicles and meeting in literal conference rooms in order to get the work done. Law firms can remain functional and operational in a remote model, with most if not all your employees working from home- but should we continue doing so? What are the Pros and Cons?
PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association) works with law firms all across the country. Here’s what we’ve found out:
Some employees were MORE productive when they worked from home during the pandemic
Some employees were less productive when they worked from home.
Some employees couldn’t wait to get back to the office
Some employees wanted to continue to work from home- if not all the time, at least part of the workweek.
For the past five years (well before Covid-19), Harvard Business School Associate Professor Prithwiraj Choudhury started studying a number of companies that implemented WFH (Work from Home) or WFA (Work from Anywhere) into their long-term business models. His study included organizations such as TCS, Zapier, and even the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which alone has several thousand employees working remotely.
THREE BIG BENEFITS with REMOTE OPERATIONS: Dr. Choudhury’s research uncovered several benefits to both business entities as well as individual employees.
Increased employee productivity
Decreased real estate/overhead costs and
Hugely increased potential talent pool for new hires
Increased quality of life
Better work-life balance and
Financial benefits like the flexibility to live in other locations where living costs are lower and eliminating commute expenses
Choudhury also notes that “Millennials seemed captivated by the idea that working from anywhere would allow them to become ‘digital nomads,’ traveling the world while still employed.”(Choudhury, “Our Work from Anywhere Future,” Harvard-Business Review, Nov/Dec. 2020)
And let’s face it – lots of Law Firm owners discovered they LIKE working from home, too. There’s something to be said for managing a law firm from your back porch in your gym shorts or jammies, right? It is only natural that some of your employees who spent months with the freedom to do the same thing aren’t eager to resume the post-pandemic work schedule with long commutes, business attire clothing budgets, and the inflexible trappings that come with working in the brick and mortar building each day. Some just want to spend more time with their pets.
But whatever the individual employee’s motivations may be, the bottom line is that, like in so many other ways – the pandemic changed the way many people think about life and work. As this blog posts, PILMMA is hosting its PILMMA Mastermind Meetings in Key West and this very subject was one of the big topics many of our lawyers wanted to toss around – there were strong feelings and opinions.
Some members think it’s great and want to embrace this newfound flexibility. Other law firm owners in the group think it’s a terrible idea and don’t have any intention of allowing a single employee to work from home ever again if they can help it. (If you want to find out more about PILMMA Mastermind groups and if we have a place for you, go to www.pilmma.org)
But like Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ, we aren’t in Kansas anymore. The post-pandemic world has changed us and the world around us. It’s changed how many people live, work and play. It’s changed how many employees feel about their work-life and home life. It’s changed how many laws firm owners view their business, too.
And here’s the reality: We all know that happy employees usually mean increased productivity, improved customer service and higher staff retention. That being said, even if you are conceptionally opposed to the idea of allowing continued WFH options, there are some benefits to the model that merit consideration.