Having staff working from home, or simply at another location has proved to be a major competitive advantage. The threat of the Coronavirus has just pushed that competitive advantage to a new level.
Law firms have been slower than most other sectors to adopt new technology in their practices. In particular, the adoption of cloud technology in order to free up workers from being chained to their desks has not been taken up as quickly as you might expect.
Maybe there is a perception that an “absent” employee is not working at their full potential or is only capable of achieving their best when monitored in the office. It could be that the old model of “all hands on deck” is hard to implement when some staff are not even there – or maybe it is simply an unwillingness to invest in new technology.
The benefits of cloud computing have not escaped other business sectors who have adopted it with enthusiasm in recent years.
The cost savings alone are significant.
Floor space at the office is always at a premium. The cost of supporting each member of staff with basic facilities is a burden on any organisation, particularly one that is already short of space.
The idea that staff working away from home do not perform well has long been discredited. It is management’s job to ensure that staff are measured on criteria that are valuable to the company, not on whether they arrive on time, are appropriately dressed and don’t take more than an hour for lunch.
We have learned there are better ways of measuring staff performance – and indeed motivating staff.
How the Coronavirus will affect law firms.
Many companies are already restricting the travel of their staff. HR departments are reviewing travel arrangements for all staff as the problem escalates on a daily basis.
For staff connected to the cloud, this does not present a problem. They can and will work from anywhere. Only companies that have tied their employees to a desktop computer at the office will feel the pain.
Flexible working doesn’t just minimise the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the legal profession. It creates a better and more robust business model.
Coronavirus has rapidly become a major threat to companies around the world. Any members of staff that have been required to “self-isolate” may be perfectly healthy and eager to work. They can only do this effectively if they are fully connected to the cloud and fully able to access all their work files from home.
It’s a shame that for many law firms, it takes a global pandemic before they adopt technology that will enable them to be more productive. Clearly, even without the threat of the Coronavirus, all members of staff would be able to make a bigger contribution to the company’s performance if they were able to access all of their software and business files when they were away from the office.
I know this from personal experience. My partner was dealing with clients on her laptop two hours before she went into labour!
There are of course many reasons why staff member can’t get into the office. Train strikes, the baby is ill, the new bath is being delivered sometime today and I’ve got a cold, are all high on the list.
How often do staff want to work – but can’t? Management can maximise the full potential of its team if it will adopt new technology and the advantages it brings.
If management truly wants the company to perform at peak efficiency, giving staff the ability to work remotely is essential. Not just to work remotely, but to work with the same capability as if they were in the office.
Software as a Service (SAAS) and how law firms can benefit.
The concept of software as a service (SAAS) has many business benefits. Remote working is just one of them.
SECURITY: Security is a major consideration for all law firms and the cloud, despite first impressions, can afford far greater security than any of the alternatives. Fire and theft of equipment are two of the biggest items on any company’s risk assessment. Having all your valuable data on the cloud completely eliminates these problems.
SHARED DATA: Enabling authorised staff access to the data they need to do the job also eliminates the risk (less need to have data stored in more than one place) and also improves performance. Giving all appropriate members of staff access to the software from anywhere is a game-changer in itself.
FASTER: Old law firms are notorious for hanging onto old technology. Surely any self-respecting IT Director can justify getting “another year out of the kit”. Old computers cost a fortune in lost staff performance. They are cited as the main reason why staff feel they are not achieving their full potential in the work-place.
INEXPENSIVE: Upgrading your software when it is stored on the cloud is inexpensive too. Having a respectable refresh programme for your company will ensure IT is not limiting staff performance or company growth.
ALWAYS UP TO DATE: Security and software updates are automatic. If a new computer virus appears on a Monday, by Tuesday everyone has the virus fix in place by Tuesday (if only we could do that to the Coronavirus).
A CONTENTED WORKFORCE: HR Directors already know that offering staff the ability to work remotely is a big attraction. Many employees would rather have the ability to work remotely, even if it is only one day a week than have a pay rise. Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover those that don’t.
How we can help.
We are specialist in IT for law firms. We can advise you on the very best way to protect your company as the virus threat moves from the computer interface to the human interface. Give us a call today on 020 7123 4570