Posted by Chris Pucci, CEO of Legal Futures Associate Osprey Approach
A report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that over 80% of managers said their businesses had adopted hybrid working, with two-thirds saying this had been prompted by the Covid pandemic.
That’s certainly reflective of the legal sector. A survey by Acritas reported that 77% of senior lawyers wanted to keep elements of remote working as they sought to retain greater flexibility as part of a better work-life balance.
This echoes the findings of this year’s LPM Frontiers Report, which found that only 15% of firms expected their team to return to the ‘five days in the office’ model.
For many firms, this new way of working has presented challenges for their business operations. Firms need to consider whether their teams have the right equipment to be able to work effectively across locations, whether they’re trained correctly in managing cyber-security threats, and whether the right infrastructure is in place to support them.
Some 60% of those firms who responded to LPM said behavioural factors remained the biggest challenge when it came to optimising hybrid working. This suggests that firms believe they have the right technology in place but are not necessarily making the best use of it – and certainly, people’s ‘habits’ need scrutinising.
I have written previously about the importance of firms being aware of current habits. It is only by scrutinising existing tools, processes and behaviour that it’s possible to consider whether existing habits are having a positive impact on the business, or whether it’s time to reset and implement new, more effective ones.
Anywhere Operations: implementing digital-first habits
When it comes to making positive changes in your firm to help you realise your longer-term goals, you need to implement a cultural mindset and business strategy that is digital-first. A strategy that focuses on using technology, processes, and your team to enable an effective operation free from physical restrictions.
All of this can be achieved through a concept known as Anywhere Operations.
Anywhere Operations is a digital-first model which is more than just enabling remote working or connecting with clients virtually.
It is about building an adaptable and resilient foundation of technology solutions, internal procedures, digital tools and the right skillsets to run your firm seamlessly without a physical infrastructure and no matter the location of staff and clients.
A digital-first approach sets the foundation for all subsequent habits. To operate successfully, firms should adopt a digitally focused operational strategy that is more than simply a ‘working from home’ policy.
Thinking digital-first ensures your business can operate, collaborate and service clients without the reliance on physical locations, infrastructure or processes, providing the ultimate flexibility and continuity.
Anywhere Operations challenges the traditional ideas of how to run a law firm and removes the need for an office location and face-to-face client interactions. It utilises technology to run a seamless and unrestricted operation that drives efficiency and enables a frictionless collaboration between clients and lawyers digitally.
Whilst this may sound ideal, how do you adopt an Anywhere Operations model in practical terms?
Build digital foundations with practice and case management software
To set your firm up for success, you need to create the right environment that enables effective digital habits to flourish and reduces inefficient manual ones.
A crucial element of creating the right environment is having effective tools. A cloud-based, fully integrated practice and case management system (PCMS) is a fundamental part of a law firm’s toolkit that is needed to adopt an Anywhere Operations approach, with benefits including:
- Fee-earners’ ability to connect to a centralised, single PCMS in real-time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling them to manage their cases and clients effectively;
- A cloud-based, centralised platform to store your documents, processes, and data which enables your firm to run anytime, anywhere, without the restraints of physical files or needing the office environment;
- Digitally connecting your operations: easily share and collaborate with all parties, including your internal team, so your business can run seamlessly through the cloud-hosted platform – something which has become more important than ever as firms move to hybrid working models; and
- Successfully managing clients digitally with a range of client-centric solutions that meets their needs, no matter where they are located. Secure web portals, mobile apps, e-signatures and online questionnaires enable a digital client onboarding and case management experience that’s convenient for the client and efficient internally.
When fully utilised and implemented to its best advantage, a PCMS is a fantastic tool that will set your firm up with strong digital foundations.
Think digital first – and build effective habits – to future proof your firm
By adopting an Anywhere Operations approach, you will help to set your firm up for success. To achieve this, think about your priorities over the next few years and beyond.
Download our guide to Anywhere Operations, which will enable you to build solid foundations for your future success; helping to ensure that your firm is in a strong position to compete in the marketplace, whilst providing your clients with an excellent level of service and helping you retain the talent within your firm.