Remote Work for Lawyers is…Working in 5 dimensions.
With half of the labor force working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s evident that the gradual transition to greater remote work is about to increase. So we have to think about remote plans and strategies over the next few years. Some recently research shows massive improvement in performance – 13% improvement in performance from people working from home says Stanford Graduate School of Business professor, Nicholas Bloom.
We are living in a new paradigm of thinking and working. We can’t deny it anymore. We all went through a period of conflict trying to go back to old patterns and behaviors. But now we can’t deny it anymore because as much you deny as you don’t progress. More important, now, is to find new solutions, smarter ways to work, and to be okay with the way you work. Lawyers are facing a big change, either they are practicing solo, or in a team.
We will give you some vision toward a new way of working and thinking. There are more dimensions to take into consideration when you think about remote work. It’s important to have the necessary tools and equipment to do business no matter where you are.
1. The first dimension, and the most important, is the psychological one. It’s a new way of doing things. When we go through a period of change, our nervous system is stressed. In our coaching method we apply The Satir Change Model which says that as we cope with unexpected or significant change, we predictably move through four stages: Late Status Quo, Chaos, Practice & Integration, and New Status Quo. You have to be gentle with yourself and allow for some time to adjust. In this transition period it is good to ask for specialized support in order to break through this period more easily.
2. Second dimension is your environment – You need a new logistic and a new structure. The workplace is important and requires a new organization. If you are moving from one place to another you need a laptop computer. In today’s day and age you have many options including lightweight laptops as well as smaller netbooks. Also, you have to think about internet access. The space is as important as is your comfort. When we think about a normal office space it seems luxurious. So, pay to attention to where you make your workplace. Make sure you are using a comfortable chair. Maybe place some motivational mantras in your workspace. Keep your environment clean and make sure there is enough air flowing through the space, it’s healthy.
3. Third dimension – Physiology plays a very important role. Ergonomics are extremely important. You can’t sit tall with your neck looking straight ahead when your screen is too low. The screen should be as close to eye level as possible. Find the ideal position at your desk. Keep your shoulders relaxed, not hunched up. Be aware of the position of your arms. Create roughly a 90-degree angle between your shoulders and the keyboard, so your wrists don’t need to bend up or down. Take frequent breaks, stretch, and change your work position in order to relax your body. You have to take care of your health, keep your self sane. Keep moving! Put reminders on sticky notes around your computer or use a timer to help you keep track of time.
4. Fourth dimension- Relationships. We know that one of the vital human needs is connection. Socialization is part of satisfaction and building relationships. Working remotely, networking is not easy. Also, the remote team needs to have a sense that they are a team. It’s important to stay together, keeping that connection and team vibe.
Create team decision making if you have a team or committee. Try keeping the same program, just being organized in a different way. When you work in the office, there are moments when you hang together, now we don t have that moment. So create a separate Zoom meeting where you just hang and speak about some outside work subjects. Those meetings, communicating with team members, combat these feelings of loneliness and isolation.
5. Fifth dimension – Time management. In order to avoid burnout and conflict with your family, make an agenda with your priorities and make sure in your agenda you put as a priority your wellbeing! Schedule some free time, when you do things you like to do. Find balance in the time you spend with your family and communicate your schedule with them and the hours when you are available. Try to go to nature every day. If you feel you need support, ask for help.