Rankin Business Lawyers was created with an overarching goal of being a completely virtual firm enabling us to work from home, reduce our travel time, and spend more time with our families. I started about 6 months into operations as the first employee to set up systems and processes and have our entire law practice operational completely from the cloud. I’m proud to say that we now have lawyers across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Italy operating over email and online meeting platforms as if we were all working close by. This is our “normal” and in the current crisis I’m grateful for our set-up.
Thinking about those who are suddenly finding themselves working from home, it is important to acknowledge this massive change. Where cloud based systems enable us to work from home in the cloud, there is much more to it. Awareness is key. This is a massive change for a lot of people and health is a priority – not just from coronavirus, but mental health issues, such as stress and anxiety, need to be front of mind as well.
It is important to be accessible to the team and to clients. Access to each other’s calendars is important, or just advising hours when you are unavailable also helps. In an office, you are used to looking across to see if people are at their desks and you will be used to this. All of our staff have mobile phones and they overflow through to me if they are on another call. This often assists with any panic of not being able to get hold of someone.
We all have laptops which enable us to work remotely. Additionally, our IT support all have remote access technology to assist with any IT issues that arise.
Working from home can be amazingly productive! Personally, I thrive in my own environment. At the same time, it can be isolating and stress inducing. We set our environment up this way, but a sudden change can be difficult for those who have not worked from home before. It is vital to touch base with the team regularly and keep open lines of communication. Also, be wary of how you explain tasks to colleagues, a forwarded email is a long way from sitting with someone in an office.
Weekly Team Dial Ins
We have regular Monday morning meetings through Zoom with all staff from all locations. This is a great opportunity to check in with everyone, celebrate the positives and raise any negatives. To make a point that everyone’s time is valued, we make sure the meetings are structured by working through an agenda and, instead of long discussions, we quickly ascertain who they need to speak to and set that up outside of the meeting.
Stacey Brennan, Chief of Staff