Take a quick scan of online job boards and you’ll see a new option – remote only. Yes, more and more companies are offering employees the option to work 100% remotely. This has opened up the world of work possibilities, ending the limits that come with having to live in the same city as your employer.
In fact, some companies are 100% remote and have an entire workforce that communicates using digital tools such as Slack, Skype, texting, and other digital conferencing tools. This boom in remote work is changing the legal profession.
Now, you can work as a lawyer out of your home-office for a law firm that is located on the other side of the country (or planet). More and more people are realizing the benefits of remote work including reduced company overhead costs, better employee productivity, reduced stress levels, and higher employee satisfaction.
In fact, think of the last time you struggled with finding a court reporter in Pittsburgh – this all changes with the growth of telecommute and remote court reporting services. In this article we look at some of the challenges involved with working remotely and offer solutions to these challenges.
Challenges Involved with Remote Work
While a recent two-year study shows the boost to productivity and employee satisfaction that comes with working remotely, there are some challenges to this work environment. Whether you’re looking for a remote work position or are already working remotely, be aware of these remote work challenges:
- Procrastination: it can be super easy to become distracted when you work from home. There is laundry to be done, a driveway to be shoveled, and the temptation to simply delay the start of the workday. This is exactly why remote work is not for everyone. Make sure you’re someone who is self-motivated and thrives on getting work done.
- Client management: traditionally, your legal clients are used to meeting you in an office setting. When you work from home, it can be a challenge to arrange meetings, etc. Make sure you have a set-up that allows for meetings and for uninterrupted phone and conference calls.
- Trust: there is an outdated idea that people simply don’t work when they work from home and that if you’re in the office, then you’re working. You know this isn’t true, but it is a hard misconception to overcome. To establish a trust relationship with your colleagues, hit the ground running and make sure you’re able to accomplish your work from home with no hiccups or problems.
- Technology lag: to work effectively from home, you need access to good technology. This means a strong Internet connection, a reliable laptop, updated software, and the login permissions for any cloud-based databases, etc. The more digitally friendly your law or court reporting firm is, the easier it is to work from home and access the information you need.
It’s important to remember that every working environment has its own set of challenges, remote work just has a different set than that of a traditional office environment. Don’t let these challenges become barriers to your remote work success.
Solutions for Remote Work Success in the Legal Profession
One of the best ways to prevent career burnout in the legal profession is to create work environments that mesh with the real-life needs of people. This means putting an end to one- and two-hour commutes, ridiculously long work hours, and the idea that people are only productive when they’re in the office.
When faced with questions about how you can be productive and successful when working from home, present these solutions to common work-from-home challenges:
- A real home office. Make sure you have a real home office with a door that closes.
- Reliable Internet access. Get the very best Internet connection and access available in your neighborhood. Have a back-up plan should the Internet or power be out in your neighborhood.
- Communicate regularly with your colleagues. Make sure you attend meetings, are involved with client discussions, and respond quickly to emails. Encourage your colleagues to communicate with you using tools such as Skype or Slack.
- The right tools and technology. You need access to the same tools, technology, and databases as those used by your colleagues in the office. Make sure your IT team has set you up with the requisite permissions and access levels.
Remote work is here, and this is the ideal time to make the switch from the office to your home office. The benefits to your mental health, family life, work satisfaction levels, and time management are huge.