Remote Work in Law Firms

How to use a CRM to optimize remote work

Were all long past repeating that the pandemic has ushered in a new commonplace standard of both working remotely and in hybrid arrangements.  New technology has enabled working remotely to become commonplace but sometimes the excess of zoom meetings and haste to virtually recreate office environments doesn’t serve their intended ends as well as they could.  Nonetheless the majority of employees in many industries seem to enjoy the convenience of working at home if possible and who can blame them?

The simple fact is “in person” is not the same as its virtual replacements even with all the conveniences.  The most meaningful interactions will continue to occur face to face and even though not every work-related conference will rise to that level of connection. Technology can do a lot to bridge that gap but not everything.  We have all become familiar with the reasons that remote and hybrid work will remain popular.

While there are many complex collaborative software environments and platforms there are also simple practices to optimize for the best outcomes that can get overlooked.  Legal CRM software is an important measure that can be seen even as a standard of not only working remotely but extending and building personal connections with clients, prospects, and others in general.

An excess of zoom meetings?

A study published in Nature magazine found that creativity in problem solving can be stifled by video conferencing.  Staring at an array of faces can make someone more self-conscious and inclined to maintain virtual eye contact so that they don’t look distracted.  It can be easily understood that fixedly looking at a monitor doesn’t mimic the balanced exchange possible when present among others and can harm that potential collaborative “magic” of problem solving.

As with any new technology the balance will be found and with video conferencing the appropriate happy medium will be found for various professional settings.  Many of us will remember people annoyingly shouting their Bluetooth-enabled conversations to the world to give an example of a practice that has fortunately lessened.

The old standard use of email is still an excellent way to handle communications.  With a CRM you can easily record notes about meetings and interactions whether by video conference or other means and attach them to a person in a public manner to keep everyone on the same page.

A recent McKinsey article states the following: “Employees who feel included in more detailed communication are nearly five times more likely to report increased productivity”.

A CRM is a great way to keep track of communications and ensure that loose ends are tied up.  With a CRM It’s very easy to attach custom notes to a person, so you don’t have to scroll through your inbox every time you want to review a contact’s history. In the end, remote working is only on as effective as your communication protocols in place allow.

Don’t just manage contacts, build from them.

Having the ability to set easy reminders in a central place with a detailed history attached to persons, businesses and events gives a unique and dynamic view of your firm’s extended connections and the impact of your marketing efforts.  With a good legal CRM, you can pull more of your clients and prospects into a closer connection which is similar in a way to how remote working has normalized work relationships across distances.  With well-timed emails and follow-ups your contact becomes nearer to you in a sense similar to remote work.

Remote working more recently is premised on technological advances keeping people together across distances. CRM is a more fundamental tool that is especially effective at keeping everyone together whether their location is across the hall or the country.  We all organize and use calendars to track appointments and tasks, but the sharing of a groups contact history is a powerful scaling-up of this natural organizational structure.  With a legal CRM in place, you can also evaluate trends and outcomes relating to events and marketing campaigns.

What about keeping goals in target?

Without the synergistic energy of a team environment goals can lack infectious urgency.  Today some employers are using monitoring software to track their employees’ habits, and it may be appropriate for some settings, but for a team of dedicated professionals it is especially the strength of a common vision that constitutes a large part of what is missed remotely.  With the visualization of opportunity tracking, you can keep your team excited about reaching common goals.  Wherever the locations of your staff and attorneys may be, a CRM can be a productivity enhancer.