Legal professionals have long had to spend countless hours moving between the field and the office. However, having to return to the office countless times a day can quickly become a tedious task and one that can have a negative impact on your efficiency as a legal professional. Relying on new and emergent technologies to reduce this need by adopting mobile working is one solution, but you’ll need to know the best way to do so before transitioning to remote working yourself. Here are the best practices for remote working as a lawyer.
Your Firm Needs the Proper Infrastructure in Place
Before you even begin to consider remote working as a solution, you need to ensure your firm has the proper infrastructure in place to enable you to do so. There must be electronic methods for drafting and submitting legal documents to the firm’s servers, and these servers must be accessible to those outside the office in ways that are both convenient and secure. Firms also must be able to issue legal professionals any equipment they need to function in this manner, such as mobile devices that can scan and capture paper documents before being uploaded to a central connected server.
It’s Your Responsibility to Remain in Constant Communication
Remote working means reducing the amount of time you spend in the office by a significant margin, but this also means you’ll need to increase communications between you and your firm to a higher standard. Through emails, text messages, and phone calls, (and the hopefully occasional stop in the office) you’ll have to replace your physical absence by keeping your office manager, senior partner, or whoever it is you report to in the loop much more comprehensively on a daily basis. Remember: you’re being granted the privilege of remote working, so it’s your responsibility to keep lines of communication open.
You Need to Pay Close Attention to Your Work-Life Balance
Remote working has many advantages to your work-life balance, chief among them being able to set your own hours. However, this can also be a drawback if you don’t practice good time management skills. If you decide to time-shift non-critical work later and later into the day, you may often find yourself finishing these tasks late into the night, well after you would have done so if you were still working from your firm’s office. If these instances occur with increasing regularity, you ironically risk disrupting the same work-life balance that you began remote working for to begin with.
The Paradox of Remote Working
Remote working as a lawyer can be quite a paradox. While you relish the freedom and flexibility you gain from not having to report to the office every day, you have no one to rely on to regulate your daily routine except yourself. This means that, in order to be successful, remote workers need to keep highly regimented lives. Whether it’s constantly checking in with the office, ensuring that you’re not up until the small hours of the morning finishing your assigned tasks, or simply having the right tools to enable workflow from your laptop to your firm’s servers, remote working as demanding as it is rewarding.