With remote working taking off again for 2022, whether it be due to a mix of isolation requirements or split team working to minimise exposure events the one constant across our legal clients is the continual struggle around communication and feedback.
In the legal sector remote working creates a huge gap around mentorship and facetime with partners, which is likely to start impacting junior talent development. Many firm’s implementation around remote working are partner / team lead which can cause confusion across the firm. Where we have seen firms be the most successful in navigating remote working is where the firm has taken a one firm approach and had a fundamental shift in the way they support and establish remote working norms and processes. The approach is then tailored to suit the needs of a particular team and how they practically operate (e.g. a daily morning Teams catch up). This shift is likely to serve firms well in the future when they can offer a truly supportive flexible working model.
If you are looking to refine your firm’s approach to remote working, we suggest considering the below factors:
What are the teams’ working patterns and who works closely together? What proportion of time is spent working alone vs. in a team?
What are the groups schedules, ie what hours are they working, how are they communicating instructions and deadlines and how are issues or suggestions resolved?
How are people connecting? As a whole firm or on a team-by-team basis?
Keeping communication channels open is key and firms are utilising digital management software to connect and have oversight of projects. Streamlined internal communication channels are critical, enabling people to obtain the required information quickly and with little interruption. Written emails can sometimes fill this gap but firms who have navigated this successfully have implemented instant messaging tools allowing you to create channels for specific topics and have instant access to the wider team. We have seen Slack, Whatsapp groups and Microsoft Teams successfully implemented amongst New Zealand firms.
Follow our LinkedIn page for regular insights and updates in the legal sector.