As coronavirus testing becomes more broadly available, many states have begun the slow process of reopening the economy. While the legal system never shut down completely, we’ve made many modifications to our usual workflow. We’ve adapted to working remotely and learned how to keep our cases moving forward. Now, there’s a new challenge on the horizon: preparing your law firm for success after COVID-19.
While every law firm will have taken a different approach to crisis management, we’ve compiled suggestions from industry experts to help you position your business for success in the months ahead.
Maintain Your Focus on Personnel
Many firms have recently undergone staffing changes and even salary reductions in order to make ends meet. This is to be expected as we adjust to the economic realities of a post-COVID-19 world. Prior to making any personnel changes, consider whether there is an alternative strategy that would not result in layoffs. Dedicated employees are the reason that your business will make it through this global health crisis.
The people in your company are your greatest asset, and it’s essential to treat them as such. They represent your most valuable investment. By taking care of your staff in these trying times, you’ll be rewarded with increased loyalty and satisfaction with the company. They are resilient, and they will be with you when the tide turns.
If your budget allows you to keep your employees on the payroll, this can reduce friction and stress as you work towards resuming normal operations. In most cases, those that you’ve laid off will need to be rehired. When critical positions are left empty, it will require significant effort to recruit, hire, and train new employees. Moreover, partial layoffs will place more strain on your remaining employees. While they may be able to make ends meet using reduced resources, but this isn’t a sustainable solution. Overextending your employees is a recipe for burnout, exhaustion, and poor morale.
Identify Roadblocks and Streamline Operations
Have you ever had to explain a procedure to a new work colleague and realized that there are inefficiencies in your workflow? That process is now happening at law firms across the country. This is because it is easier to identify roadblocks and inefficiencies when routines are disrupted.
Now that we’ve traded our familiar office spaces for dining room tables, some tasks that were second nature or partially automated will need to be reevaluated. If you’re in an executive position, it’s a good time to meet with your department heads to discuss eliminating redundancies. The systems you develop today are critical to managing a surge in demand that you could experience when the economy reopens.
Closely Monitor Budgets
Maintaining a full workforce is very difficult in this time when most firms are seeing a decrease in potential clients and reduced demand from existing clients. To avoid laying off employees, you’ll need to find a financial cushion in the margins. One way to do this could be to pursue payment on your outstanding accounts receivable. You could have more funding available than you expected. You can also investigate possible lines of credit to bridge the gap until the economy returns to normal.
It isn’t easy to maintain perspective when you’re looking at decreased profits. However, try to remember that this is a short term circumstance. When you fixate on the present, you cannot position yourself for success in the future. In the long term, new business models will emerge and your innovative solutions will become standard practice. If possible, use this time to invest in technology that will let you support your clients in the transition to the ‘new normal’.
Make Clients Your Priority
Your clients will remember how you treated them when the going got tough. They’re feeling overwhelmed and they may be struggling financially during this time. Offering them compassion and understanding will go a long way to solidifying your working relationship. Take the time to converse with them and understand their changing legal needs. They will propel you to success as the economy recovers.
Although many businesses and law firms are struggling due to COVID-19, we must remember that we’ll eventually come out on the other side of this crisis. By investing in your employees, closely monitoring your budget, and committing to your clients, you can position your law firm for success after coronavirus.
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