As a legal tech company, the option of using technology to work remotely has been a part of our culture from Day 1. As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more of our clients to work from home, we wanted to share some tips and best practices that we learned along the way.
1. Establish and maintain a schedule
No matter how well-equipped you are to work remotely, chances are you need to collaborate with a team. Establish and maintain a schedule to do your own work and to connect with others.
Everyone has different needs and adjustments to make during this pandemic. Set aside at least a few specific hours during the day for the entire team to be online at the same time. This ensures that everyone can communicate and collaborate and that projects don't get held up waiting for responses and approvals.
Setting your own schedule each day is also important. Some of us find it difficult to maintain structure when we are working alone. Set out specific hours for work each day, leaving time for lunch and for breaks. Equally important is scheduling time to unplug at the end of the day.
2. Daily stand-up
Arrange a daily stand-up meeting for your team. At a specific time each day, everyone from the company shares what they did the day before and what they're tackling today. This is an excellent way to ensure that the group is coordinated despite being physically apart.
At NoticeConnect, each morning our team gets a reminder message on the Slack app to share this update. We share what we're up to and mention if we're waiting on anything. This helps us stay connected and gives us an excuse to be social.
3. Location location location
Your new workspace should be just that: a workspace. Dedicate a spot in your home to be your "office" to help you associate it with work. A corollary is that the rest of your home should be work-free. Part of being productive means being able to recharge.
Yes, this means your couch and bed should be off limits (comfortable though they may be).
Having a dedicated workspace will boost your productivity and focus. And don't be too hard on yourself if you're used to working from the office and it takes a few days to adjust.
4. Consider cybersecurity
As you work from home, make sure you're following best practices to keep your data secure and to maintain client confidentiality.
We know that many of you keep your passwords written down in a book. Now's the time to use a password manager (like LastPass). You can use these tools to securely store all of your passwords in one secure place that you can access at the office or at home.
A password manager doesn't just help you store your own passwords. It helps you share them securely with team members who need to use them. This is much more secure than sending sensitive information over email.
Remember as well that emails don't just travel from Point A to Point B.
They zig-zag and regularly cross back and forth over the US border. Be sure that the tools you're using aren't subjecting your clients' data to unexpected cross-border transfers. This is exactly why we build the Canada Will Registry to meet lawyers' data residency needs.
5. Stay Connected
Working from home can be lonely, so take advantage of tools like Slack and Zoom to stay in touch with your coworkers. Video chats aren't a perfect substitute for in-person interactions, but they go a long way during a prolonged stretch of working from home.
Give your team members a call, use screen-sharing to show colleagues what you're working on, and use programs like Google Docs to collaboratively work on the same document with multiple people in real-time.
Staying connected isn't just about sharing work updates. Keep in touch on a personal level. Share interesting articles, jokes, and pictures of pets. If you use Slack, we highly recommend the Giphy extension.
Collaboration and interaction are both possible and necessary for your company (and your sanity).
Important to remember...
It takes time to get into a new routine. Working home - especially during a sudden pandemic - poses unique challenges for each individual. Give yourself time to adjust, be patient, and stay connected.