Adjusting to remote work and getting your remote team up and running might have been tough at first. But with the technology available to most law firms, the shift has hopefully been little more than a hiccup for you. If it caused a lot of stress, however, you’re probably due for a tech makeover.
Using Tech to Support a Collaborative Culture
Today’s technologies can equip you and your team to operate like a well-oiled machine, even when working remotely. Applying the soundest strategy and a 100% buy-in process from your team will have your practice firing on all cylinders.
Just remember technology tools are only as good as the people who are using them. It’s how you use your core tools that will make the difference. Failing to train your team and implement technology effectively leads to all kinds of problems:
- Missed tasks
- Poor communication
- Reckless assumptions
Stack those up, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster — and a lot of reactive work. And who suffers? Your clients, who could already be concerned about how your firm is coping during the crisis.
To avoid mistakes that further erode client confidence in your firm, keep these caveats in mind.
- Don’t leave it up to your team when it comes to learning new technologies.
- Just because you might intuitively understand how to leverage the best features of collaborative tools, that does not mean everyone on your team does.
- Most people rush to sign up for services, then expect the tools to magically improve collaboration. They won’t. Just because you decided to pay for a license doesn’t mean people know how to make good use of it.
Top Three Tips for a Collaboration Tech Upgrade
1. Spend money and time where it makes sense.
Underspending on behind-the-times solutions leaves your team frustrated and unwilling to buy into your processes. So, keep your 8-tracks and CDs at home.
Once you pick your core tools to update or upgrade, a crucial filtering process needs to happen. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of features in any given software. Multiply those options times all the different software you use, and your team has access to hundreds of features. Conservatively, most people have 500 to 1,000 features they can tap into at any one time. No wonder thinking about improving technology gets most people into instant overwhelm.
To avoid instant overwhelm, the practical approach is to choose the three most impactful features for only the top, most important software programs you use. Choose these based on what will offer the most substantial benefits to your firm. For example, think of superior communication, reduced fallout and enhanced client experience.
Conferencing programs, like Zoom, Slack or Microsoft Teams, and cloud-based case management software are often near the top of a law firm’s list.
Related: “Tech Tips – Remote Work Lessons to Take Forward From The Shutdown” by Sheila Blackford, Brett Burney, Jim Calloway, Andrea Cannavina, Natalie Kelly, Sharon Nelson & John Simek, and Camille Stell
2. Put in the time, consistently.
After picking those top features, schedule a weekly one-hour block for training your team over the next three weeks. And not just the most tech-savvy people, everyone. Your goal is to get everyone on the same page about how to use the features and tools you’ve selected. During these one-hour sessions, teach your team the benefits of each of these crucial features and how to configure and implement them in their daily work.
3. Develop — and stick to — your meeting cadence.
At my company, I’m happy to say things have continued running extremely smoothly during the shutdown, and our team culture and collaboration have strengthened. Part of that is due to regular meeting cadence:
- We hold a Monday team meeting from 11-11:30 a.m.
- We run a daily “stand-up” meeting at 8:51 a.m.
- Both meetings have set agendas to ensure we’re all on the same page
Without these communications, maintaining cohesiveness would be unlikely.
And remember, your team’s communications do not need to be all about work. Here, we have a remote happy hour on Fridays from 3-4 p.m. It’s a time to chitchat, blow off steam and shoot the bull. Our team loves and appreciates the chance to connect on a deeper level outside of work.
Your Firm Must Maintain a Healthy and Collaborative Culture to Thrive
Pandemic or not, when you choose and use core tools effectively, plus plan meetings properly, no shutdown can stop your team from effective collaboration.
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