As we truly enter the “post-pandemic” new normal and COVID restrictions continue to lift, one thing has become abundantly clear: there is no longer a one-size-fits-all working style that makes sense for all law firms.
In some instances, remote work continues to yield hugely positive results like increased productivity, revenue growth, and greater job satisfaction. Yet certain situations do call for face-to-face interaction, and the social benefits of being in the office are often critical to building client relationships, brainstorming, and creating a positive company culture.
In short, the future of the law office is flexible. And having the right technology in place can help bridge this gap and maximize agility. Here’s exactly what that can look like.
The Broader Context: The Modern Law Office
Before the pandemic, the law industry was very risk-averse and “traditional” when it came to telecommunications and remote work, opting primarily for in-person and in-office interactions (though it can be argued that lawyers always engaged in hybrid work with at-home or in-transit work being a part of the job).
When the pandemic hit, and law offices were forced to join the rest of the world in going 100% remote, this changed dramatically, and they were forced to implement technology and software that facilitated successful remote work.
Yet these solutions were not always the best. This is particularly true for firms that didn’t have strong tech stacks in place at the start of the pandemic, as they had to reconfigure legacy systems to remain operational and quickly put new tools in place. This led to less-than-ideal functionality and cybersecurity concerns regarding data sensitivity and client-lawyer confidentiality.
The Future is Flexible
Now, one thing is clear: flexible, hybrid work is here to stay. In fact, most firms plan to keep remote work opportunities open at least 20-50% of the time and, in one Legal Industry Report, a whopping 70% of respondents asserted that they would allow part-time remote or hybrid work for the foreseeable future.
And employees now expect nothing less. Indeed, many legal candidates indicate that work-life balance is their main priority when choosing a firm, and they see flexible working options as a non-negotiable part of keeping that balance. What’s more, with a shortage of qualified candidates in the industry, many are looking for work elsewhere if their current firm does not meet their expectations.
This is, in many ways, forcing firms to follow through with the model that may ultimately work best: the flexible work environment. And the law offices that prioritize the right technology will find the most success in these endeavors.
How Legal Technology is Bridging the Gap
So, what does this technology look like, and how can it effectively bridge the gap to accommodate remote, hybrid, and in-person work?
Well, technology for the modern law firm must facilitate things like:
- Flexible work, helping to support your team members whether they are in-office, remote, or hybrid.
- Meeting room scheduling, allowing your team to book conference rooms, board rooms, huddle rooms, or virtual meetings quickly and easily.
- Desk booking, allowing hybrid employees to find the space they need to be productive when they come into the office.
- Video conferencing capabilities that empower your clients, staff, and attorneys to meet with minimal friction, lags, or technological frustration.
- Analytics so your teams can make informed, data-driven, and strategic decisions about space utilization, productivity, and other key metrics.
- Digital signage, so your teams can access real-time meeting information and room/desk availability details.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of capabilities – and not all these functionalities may be priorities of your law firm. That said, it is crucial that your technological stack facilitates seamless work (and easy-to-access insights) for everyone in your office. For many, this can be as simple as implementing a space and resource scheduling platform, like EMS, that meets all your flexible workplace management needs.
For more information on how to create a successful flexible work plan for your workplace, clients, and firm, check out our whitepaper, Law Firm Workplace Management Trends and Best Practices.