Will the cloud lead to more flexible working for lawyers?

Since the right to request flexible working was introduced in 2014, an increasing number of law firms have launched formal agile working policies. This reflects a change that is happening in businesses across the UK, where companies are waking up to the benefits of flexible, remote and mobile working.

Of course, cloud-based technology is making this shift possible, and modern tech is the driving force behind the evolving expectations of employees. Why does it matter where and when people work as long as the work gets done?

Today 67% of UK office workers say mobile working is more important than a company car. And, in response, firms are having to find ways to meet this desire for new and flexible ways of working if they want to attract and retain the best staff.

But flexible and remote working doesn’t just happen. Planning is required to make sure that standards don’t drop, and that includes investing in the right IT infrastructure. Here are some top tips to maximise modern working practices at your firm:

  • Make sure that your law firm adopts a positive culture towards flexible work. While many employees are even more productive when working out of the office, traditionalists may see it as shirking. If you’re planning on rolling out mobile working, be prepared for some conflict and take the time to make sure your workforce understands the positive benefits of working remotely and flexibly.
  • Deploy a cloud-based case management system that can be accessed and used in and out of the office.
  • Set some boundaries about what is expected of people who choose to take advantage of modern working practices. If they don’t have decent WIFI and aren’t accessible, then it’s not going to work. Likewise, you need to have the confidence that your people can manage their workload efficiently. Put processes in place to engage with staff directly and regularly. Use conference calls, video conferencing, and face-to-face meetings to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Invest in the right technology to facilitate working away from the office. This includes things like mobile devices, hosted desktops and cloud software. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be expensive, especially with cloud-based subscription models. The bad news is that without the right technology, it can be hard to get hold of remote workers, and for employees to work effectively, leading to delayed decision making and frustration.
  • Perform regular reviews and be ready to make any changes if issues are uncovered or you identify areas for improvement. Consider any impact on clients and make sure you mitigate any negative consequences. For example, some of your more traditional clients may be uncomfortable working with you remotely, so a balance has to be found. Ensuring your solicitors remain accessible, even if they are not at their desks is a good place to start. Even better, look at how flexible working can help to provide better client service. For example by visiting clients at a time and place that suits them.

If you’re thinking about investing in technology to make sure your business is ready for the mobile working revolution, speak to a member of our team on 01942 263 434 to find out more.