Posted by Adam Bullion, general manager of marketing at Legal Futures Associate PracticeEvolve
I was inspired to write this after my wife complained to me on Friday that she feels “redundant” around the home. Granted, it isn’t the usual complaint that I’m rarely at home but instead suggesting the household chores such as laundry are no longer backing up.
Whilst I feel lockdown was an endless cycle of loading and unloading the dishwasher, her point resonated with me – I have more time to work hard but also do a few quick things around the house.
While the government urges us to go back to the office, we have to accept people can work from home, remain productive (if not, more so) and enjoy a better lifestyle. The housing market is full of people looking for larger homes further away from the office right now.
Ultimately, it struck me that technology has enabled the shift in our behaviour. For example, I’m currently dictating this rather than typing it as I’m not in an office, distracting others. I’ll just tidy it up on the laptop once I’ve finished.
I appreciate working from home has been covered many times in these profound times but it bears repeating. In my opinion, there are three crucial requirements of technology any firm needs in order to adapt to a model that, for some, is somewhat worrying: security, collaboration and all-in-one solutions.
First and foremost, the protection of data and systems is an absolute must for firms to meet compliance, regulatory and legal requirements. You’ll no doubt already know that, during lockdown, Zoom came under fire for its security levels. The company addressed these quickly through an agile approach.
Over the years, we have seen password requirements change to improve security, including special characters. More recently, two factor authentications have been introduced and is quickly becoming the norm, having been implemented by many of the large businesses.
Possibly a little slower to take this option are the smaller businesses across the UK due to the effort and lack of an agile approach. We have found that clients appreciate the functionality when it is provided to them through the PracticeEvolve system.
Collaborative tools that serve a purpose, or are functional, are an absolute must and contribute towards the success of the home-working model. Putting to one side the need to hold regular video calls with team members, we need to have the ability to quickly filter, find and file emails and documents so everyone has access to the most up-to-date versions.
At the same time, we have become accustomed to managing changes through MS Word, but that involves an inefficient use of time to find it, save it, change it and re-file it, so it is even more important that the arduous tasks are made simple and built into any given business management system.
Similarly, when at home, I don’t have access to any stationary, stamps or envelopes, so posting documents is effectively not available. And why would I want to walk to the Post Office when there are digital solutions such as electronic signatures available anyway?
Collaboration goes deeper, however, and it’s important to select providers that have a collaborative approach to service and support, especially when the IT team is more dispersed than ever before. Providers need to be able to train and respond to technical questions fast.
One of the more frustrating aspects of working at home is the need to log in to different systems to conduct the usual tasks, especially when a specific password is written down on a Post-it in the office. One to record my time, another to dictate this blog, another to save and share information and so on.
As we embrace and progress home working, we have a duty to connect and integrate everything together. For example, we need one system for all rather than managing documents in one system, data in another, e-signatures somewhere else and so on. That’s what drew me to PracticeEvolve.
For any business right now, it is imperative there is a focus on retaining talent. The reality is many of us have quickly become accustomed to the luxury of working from home so we have to embrace tech that empowers the talent and simply make it really easy to work from home.
Now, where’s that vacuum cleaner?