By embracing the right technology in our new hybrid world, your firm could effectively be giving time back to your people, says Steve Whiter, director at Appurity.
Over two years have passed since COVID first reared its head and threw down numerous challenges for workforces all over the world. Probably the biggest impact was felt in how we all adjusted to new working practices. Whilst initially most people were advised to work from home, subsequent advice post-lockdowns delivered a changing work landscape. Firms operating in the legal sector will probably be operating some sort of hybrid working model for the foreseeable future, with staff across all departments working from home some days, in the office on others and perhaps a degree of remote working too.
Having the right infrastructure and technology in place is critical in order to enable your people to work from home or remotely, in an effective, productive and secure fashion. The legal sector is no different in this regard, with remote working a normal way of doing business for the majority of fee earners, but also back office staff too. As firms look to adapt and formulate their strategies for the foreseeable future, it appears likely that working from home / remotely (to varying degrees) will be ‘normal’ for most people. Firms need to take appropriate measures so that their people can enjoy remote working with productivity firmly in mind. The legal sector has always been willing to embrace technology and innovation. Forward-thinking firms can increase workforce productivity, especially amongst remote workers, by adopting the correct technology.
At the start of the pandemic, a report by Thomson Reuters that targeted law firm business leaders, looked at how firms might adjust the way they operate their businesses in response to top profitability risks. Two such risks were described as ‘underperforming lawyers’ and ‘employee productivity’. Our technology partner, iManage, made the following observations in light of the report. They concluded that, “to preserve profitability and remain competitive, firms were embracing a transformed business model focused on optimisation of resources and reduced expenses”. They saw that firms were aiming to “deliver the same or better-quality service to clients while maintaining or increasing profitability. The benefit of optimising resources inside and outside the firm within a structured, repeatable, and auditable process is that it leads to consistent improvement that effectively reduces insurance expenses and losses – protecting the firm’s profitability and boosting client confidence.”
Spotlight on productivity
With so many people reverting to remote working, firms will have noticed a much greater reliance on email. And with this in mind, technology can be very helpful – you can choose to adopt an email client that allows the people in your firm to be more productive. A solution that ultimately focuses on productivity will allow your people to send and file emails directly from their email app when they are working remotely, or away from the office. Crucially, you want your mobile workforce to be able to quickly (and efficiently) file inbox items to the right matter. When you have senior members of your team spending time travelling (taxis, trains, airports) imagine how much time is saved by them being able to keep on top of all of their inbox filing? Or even if they are staying in a hotel, they are also staying productive. By turning all of this downtime into productive time, your firm will be adding income to the bottom line – you are allowing top fee earners to maximise billable hours. And it’s very easy to do some simple maths here. How long on average is somebody ‘remote’ and what do they bill by the hour? You will be surprised at how much income this represents.
Another area that needs addressing, and that ultimately impacts on productivity, is time management. And once again, technology can also provide the answer. When your people are working remotely, if they can access everything from one app say, they will be more organised and ultimately more productive on their devices. And with many of your team spending less time in the office than before, throws up challenges regarding the traditional regimented approach to working. A commonly held view is that people miss the ‘structure’ that a working day in an office environment provides, with a scheduled approach to dividing up the day – probably very little downtime. With the right technology, people can recapture that regimentation by using efficient organising and scheduling tools. Effective time management is a crucial factor when firms look at ways to boost billing. Invest in technology that makes workers more productive.
By embracing the right technology, your firm could effectively be giving time back to your people. And if you consider how valuable ‘time’ is when you think about your senior fee earners, enabling them to file as they go gets as close to the ‘office-working’ experience as possible. Matters are filed correctly, productivity is boosted – everybody is happy.
Appurity are a verified Android Enterprise Service Provider and member of the Apple Consultants Network. Appurity specialise in device and application security, delivering comprehensive solutions across all verticals.
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