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A man touches a stream of data, illustrating the connection between law firm employees in quarantine.

Feeling disconnected from your staff? The truth is, there’s no such thing as too much communication! Following the shift to remote working, many law firm executives have been feeling disconnected. While many states have made significant progress towards reducing coronavirus spread, law firms are still unsure whether remote work will be a long-term change.

Open Discussions with All Staff

While it may sound simple, the best way to serve your employees (and by extension, your clients) is to communicate with them directly. You may be feeling like your remote workflow is inadequate, but your employees could have a completely different impression. In fact, a recent study by a Chicago-based consulting firm found that over 90% of lawyers and law firm staff were ‘somewhat satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the systems in place for remote working at their firms or legal organizations.

During your discussions, try to be receptive to constructive criticism. If you create a secure and open environment, your staff will likely share their specific frustrations. Among survey respondents, the most commonly cited problem areas were:

  • Technical support options for remote work
  • Facilitating communication with colleagues
  • Providing more information about remote work, sick leave, and other relevant policies
  • Improving and streamlining access to support staff and legal support companies

Prioritize Outreach

Despite the high levels of satisfaction from most respondents, over a quarter of respondents stated they had “not participated in an employer-led conference call or video meeting designed to stay in touch with colleagues.”

It’s hard to overstate the importance of one-on-one outreach. While employees aren’t showing decreased productivity at this stage, it’s critical for law firm leadership to facilitate interpersonal communication. Emails, phone calls, and videoconferences must replace casual conversations by the Keurig.

Embrace the Personal

Many law firms, particularly those in Big Law, have historically avoided getting personal with individual lawyers. However, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, leadership must reach out with empathy and embrace discussions of a personal nature. This helps keep employees feeling committed to the company and engaged with the work.

Share Relevant Resources

Is your staff struggling to manage childcare while working from home? How are they preserving their own mental health? These are essential questions to answer about your workforce. The truth is, we’re living in a historic moment. Work-life balance is particularly difficult to preserve but well worth the effort.

After speaking with staff individually, consider starting a regular newsletter. Some survey respondents have experimented with weekly newsletters. These newsletters help maintain a sense of community and a shared mission among a suddenly dispersed workforce. However, you can take this one step further! Take the time to learn what your staff is struggling with and share resources they will find relevant. For example, only 21% of survey respondents said they had received information about managing childcare efforts while working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments and feel free to share it on social media. As you adapt to remote working, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. Remember: we’re here for you from File Thru Trial™.

If you have questions on any of our services, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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