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As the coronavirus continues, many legal professionals have begun to work out of office for the first time. This sudden shift has made legal managers’ lives difficult and some are
struggling to lead their teams from a distance.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to enhance the productivity and engagement of your legal practitioners, even if they aren’t used to working remotely.
Here are the four most common challenges even your most high-performing legal practitioners may encounter at the moment, and how you can then alleviate their effect.
Lack of management input
The lack of face-to-face focus and social interaction has been identified as one of the biggest barriers of remote work. So, while you, as a manager, may find yourself worrying about your team’s performance, newly remote workers might feel that you don’t make a conscious effort to step into their shoes, and thereby understand their concerns. As a result, they may get the impression that you can’t really offer them the necessary guidance or support to enable them to get their work done.
2. Sharing information
Transparency, trust and knowledge-sharing amongst colleagues is of vital importance in keeping your team focused on their goals amidst this chaos. However, people working remotely for the first time often struggle to exchange information with their co-workers, which, in some cases, can lead to mistakes and even interpersonal challenges.
For this reason, they are often required to invest an enormous amount of time to get answers to even the simplest questions.
So, as a manager, it’s your duty to minimise this risk and ensure excellent communication among your team.
Without the in-person social cues in an office, employees may feel lonely and even demotivated.
As you’re reading this, you might doubt the central role of physical isolation in keeping your team productive. But have you ever thought that some of your employees may not be surrounded by family at home? How they might be feeling?
Recent research shows that this can truly impact your business, and can have a negative effect on the employee’s sense of belonging in the organisation, resulting in even increased intention to leave the firm.
4. Distractions at home
Although working from home can help your legal team avoid constant office interruptions and ideally get more work done in silence, there are other kind of distractions that may break their concentration and have them now working harder than usual.
Some of the most common interruptions remote workers usually face, include unexpected parenting responsibilities, caring for relatives or local disruption in the community.
As a manager you should be mindful of these challenges and ready to set clear expectations for your legal team. Inspire them to achieve them together and support them by setting a flexible schedule.
How you can keep your team engaged
1. The importance of human touch
In the era of COVID-19, it’s important that you make empathy an attitude and a part of your daily relationship with your employees.
Now more than ever before, your team needs you to be there to listen to their concerns and offer them words of encouragement and emotional support. For example, you can try to arrange regular one-on-one meetings to check on your employees' wellbeing and gain some valuable feedback on how working remotely is affecting them, and then come up with a strategy to act accordingly.
So, being a compassionate and caring leader is one of the key factors that can assist you in keeping your legal team focused on your vision and motivated to work hard despite the impediments.
Also, encouraging your team to organise virtual coffee chats might be a great starting point to get employees chatting, foster a supportive work environment and maintain employee wellbeing.
Most importantly, although you may feel tempted to micromanage your team and check in constantly to ensure they’re working on their daily tasks, this will only have adverse effects on their performance. So, to make sure that everything is right on track, you just need to keep the communication channels open and trust your team.
2. The importance of technology
Having the right case management system in place is of vital importance for keeping your team engaged and managing your practice effectively and securely while working remotely.
To start, the right software will enable your team to work on the same project simultaneously, giving them the freedom to access, distribute and update documents fairly quickly.
On these grounds, if you have the appropriate level of security in place, you can safeguard and simplify the information sharing process making sure your active cases are progressing smoothly.
Also, you can continue to update and communicate with your clients as you normally would, using cloud-based technology.
Being ISO27001 certified, DPS Spitfire is the ultimate software for managing your legal cases, allowing your legal team to be more efficient and agile, stay focused on their goals and deliver the highest standard of service to your clients.
With MyLegalSpace, DPS’ interactive client portal, you can securely send messages and updates to your clients, who can then navigate their case files with ease. In this way, you can collaborate effectively without compromising privacy and security.
As part of DPS community, you would also have access to Microsoft Teams, a brilliant tool enabling you to collaborate and host audio, video, and web conferences with your colleagues and clients.
To find out more about how DPS Software can help you better lead your legal team and keep your clients happy, get in touch with our friendly team today.