I was inspired to write this after my wife complained to me on Friday suggesting 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 home.
While many businesses feel the urge 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. After all, 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; 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 during lockdown, Zoom came under fire for their security levels which they addressed 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. Having been introduced to the PracticeEvolve system, clients are appreciative of the functionality.
Collaborative tools that serve a purpose, or are functional, are an absolute must and contribute towards the success of 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 documentation so everyone has access to the most up to date documentation. 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’ve found 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?
Collaboration goes deeper however and it’s important to select providers who 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.
With features such as DocuSign integration, versioning tools and an unparalleled commitment to service levels, PracticeEvolve have developed all the tools to work effectively together, when apart. And they are all in one system, speaking of which…
One of the more frustrating aspects when 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. It’s the exact reason I joined PracticeEvolve – everything is in one place meaning no costs for add-ons. It’s simply one adaptable system to manage a legal business through any given process – even workflows can be quickly adapted in minutes to cater for a working from home model.
As more firms begin to explore ways in which to connect all of their applications and systems, practice management software providers offering open API platforms will become the provider of choice. APIs are a great option for businesses to integrate their existing and future legal tech investments into an all-in-one solution, where every day processes are automated and optimised to support efficient work for all staff regardless of whether they are in the office or working remotely.
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.
Talk to one of our team today, if you are looking to get more from your software, and we can arrange a free, no-obligation demo.