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Remote working - A law firm's perspective

At Aria Grace Law, we are used to remote working and so, we thought it may be helpful to those who are trying it for the first time to have a little bit of our insight:

1. You:

a. Remember always, what you are working for look after your health and your family.

b. Enjoy the extra time – if you are now working at home, getting to your place of work is a few minutes. Time is the one thing you can’t buy more of, use it wisely.

c. Exercise – it is really important and it keeps your mood and productivity high. Exercise can be random and varied, a walk, a run, whatever gets the heart pumping.

d. Have a lunch break – it helps create a structure around your day.

e. Use technology to communicate with your co-workers – they are all in the same boat as you – so spend a little time discussing your new working world with them.

f. Do some fun stuff – get your hobbies going, play old fashioned games with the kids, take the dog for a walk, get gardening, read a book.

g. Keep well – wash your hands and if you are outside, think about distance: stay in your lane!

2. Work:

a. Set boundaries there is a lot of freedom with working remotely so set boundaries so that when you are working, you are working. Get in the work zone.

b. Take breaks – stand up and walk around every once in a while; you are not working during this time, so chat to the family, friends, or colleagues at work through one of numerous tech tools, or meditate even.

c. Space make sure your “work space” is distinct from your “home space”; having a physical cut off space means that when you have finished work you can psychologically cut off too. If you are at a computer all day, like us at Aria Grace Law, make sure the set up is correct (your employer should have given you simple but specific health and safety advice and record what has been done).

d. Bright colours make sure your work space is nice and bright!

e. Productivity make daily lists of the things you need to get done, and do it in a way that works best for you; some people love apps like Trello, some like big white boards (me, I like to put it down on paper).

3. Benefits there are so many benefits to working remotely (out of bad comes some good):

a. Time – you simply get lots more of it – use it!

b. Environment – your carbon footprint will go way down. We at Aria Grace Law have an incredibly low carbon foot print and score incredible well on environmental assessments. Seriously something to be proud of.

c. Health – as above, get exercising.

d. Communication remote working can be seen as being cut off (and maybe it is if you are the only one with bad management); but our experience having worked in traditional closed offices, then open plan offices is that through our tech, we communicate so much better. People actually communicate better in a way that they simply don’t in an open plan environment. Embrace it, you will see what I mean.

4. Technology:

a. On of the major requirements of working remotely is having good tech for our day to day world we simply use Microsoft Office as its secure and works very well for us lawyers. We have created our intranet around SharePoint and we love the Teams product for our day to day internal comms – video, meetings, external conference calls etc. Other organisations like Slack for communication purposes. WhatsApp is easy, and so is Zoom or Google Meet.

b. Keep it simple there seem to be a million organisations now flogging their ware in these COVID 19 times but I suggest keeping it simple. As I said, we use Microsoft, but Trello is great for managing, planning and updating. Asana and Jira are good too.

c. Use the technology in a way you would not ordinarily use it in the office for example, you will need to collaborate differently and this means: sharing knowledge, organising workloads, keeping everyone updated, learning from one and other, and do it without overloading everyone else and do it transparently. After a couple of days, if everyone uses tech efficiently, it is hugely collaborative.

Out of bad comes some good – Coronavirus is a horrible global event. I have had the virus and it has been (so far) 11 days of yuck. But I and the other Aria Grace Law lawyers have been able to keep our business going through (a) being kind to each other; (b) being helpful and collaborative; (c) using technology well and; (d) being open with each other (they are part of our values in any event). I wish you all the very best of luck over the next few weeks and months. If you want any more advice on this topic please feel free to contact me, and if you have any other suggestions – please let me know!

General Update by Lindsay Healy – Founder at Aria Grace Law 03.04.2020

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