Remote Workplace Checklist
Written by Leigh Ebrom
While the coronavirus has increased interest in remote working, it was a growing trend even before COVID-19. Today’s top talent increasingly wants to be able to work from anywhere and on any device, since it can boost their productivity and encourage a better work-life balance. If your law firm or business is about to implement a remote workplace, this checklist can help streamline the process and identify gaps in your current system.
Equipment and Software
- Computers equipped with working cameras and microphones for all employees.
- Speed test your team’s home internet access. If they are using video conferencing, their connection speed typically must be 8 Mbps per download and 1.5 Mbps per upload. In many cases, a strong cellular connection will accommodate the download and upload requirements.
- Obtain licensed software and applications for each employee, including:
- Office software suite, such as Microsoft O365, Google’s G Suite, or Open Office
- Video conferencing app, like Zoom, GoToMeeting, or O365 Teams
- Communication software, such as Slack or O365 Teams
Mobilize Your Apps
- Outside of your O365 and G Suite apps, ensure your other business applications and data are easily accessible from any device.
- Know where your data is stored and make sure it’s protected and backed up.
- Train your staff on how to log in and access their applications.
- Use cloud workspaces as needed.
- Set clear expectations that all work will occur on the cloud workspace, rather than on individual devices.
- If you need help, find an experienced partner, like Virtual Systems, who can quickly guide you through this process.
Customer and Client Experience
- If your office hours are changing, notify your clients and update your Google My Business listings.
- Consistently communicate with your leads and clients via video conferences, phone calls, email, and social media. When your face-to-face interaction is limited, it’s best to over-communicate.
- Forward your office phones and create a clear system of who will answer them while you’re working remotely.
Many businesses don’t think about the added complexity of managing projects from afar. To ensure that your team stays in close communication, we encourage the following steps.
- Select a project management application, such as Asana, Basecamp, O365 Planner, or O365 Projects.
- Designate a project manager for your essential functions.
- Ask the project manager to build projects on your platform, assign them to the appropriate team members, and designate deadlines for each project and sub-task.
- Train your team on how to use your project management platform.
- Have the project manager regularly check the status of each task, ensuring that tasks are delivered on time.
- Select a project management application, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
- Set expectations about demeanor and professionalism during video conferences. While interruptions will occur, encourage your team to find a quiet and private space for all video conferences.
- Schedule additional time into each video conference, in case technical issues cause delays.
Many of our clients work in highly regulated industries, such as law, healthcare, and finance. While all businesses need to ensure that confidential data remains secure, these industries operate with significant amounts of personally identifying information and protected health information. Therefore, it may be inadvisable to send documents via email or text for these industries. Instead, they should consider the following:
- Review your professional organization’s guidelines about sharing electronic data.
- Identify methods for safely sharing your data, whether by mail, secured portal, encrypted or password-protected messaging, or other means.
- Educate your clients and staff about the importance of security and privacy.
- Implement systems that consistently protect you and your clients’ data.
Business Continuity Planning
- Determine who will step in if a key stakeholder on your team can no longer work due to health or other issues.
- Designate a backup person for each role’s backup.
- Create a system that clearly identifies how and when individuals will notify the team if they are unable to perform their duties.
- Communicate your succession plan to your staff.
- Share passwords, ideally through password management software, so individuals can seamlessly step in and access the necessary data and applications.
When the transition to remote work is sudden, it can be difficult to adjust. You should provide your team with the support and communication they need throughout the process.
- Remind all employees that they play an essential role in your business or law firm’s success. Reiterate your mission, values, and vision.
- Show appreciation and celebrate your team’s successes. (It can be challenging to balance work and home life, especially if there are children in the home.)
- Encourage communication and banter on a messaging system like Slack. It can help boost morale and transparency.
- Whenever possible, consider allowing for flexible work schedules.