With more organisations every day having to take drastic measures against the spread of COVID-19, those of us with jobs that can be done remotely should be thankful. Whilst not everyone across firms and chambers have the option, many of us do, and where possible should be looking to work from home.

If you’re not used to working from home, it can present an interesting challenge in terms of staying motivated and productive. Whilst research shows remote workers are typically more productive overall, those first few weeks can be tricky. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and services to help you stay productive at home. So here are a few to help you work remotely as part of the legal sector.

1: For legal practice management: LawWare

LawWare’s tools allow you to manage your practice from anywhere you happen to be. Their services include matter management, accounting and billing tools, document management, a cloud storage service, a whole host of third party integrations, and a “œStrongroom” service for securing and keeping track of your client’s sensitive documents. They are also fully Law Society and SRA-compliant.

LawWare pride themselves on accessibility and client support. One of their demo options uses screen-sharing so they can personally guide you through the software as you get to grips with it. Users can also pick the features that appeal to them, with no requirement to use the ones that don’t. This is an ideal service if you value control and flexibility, especially when not working from the office.

2: For video communication: Microsoft Teams

While present circumstances might keep you from physically being in the same room, the fact is that regular interaction is important for both client trust and workplace cohesion.

Microsoft Teams is our preferred video conferencing tool here at Zensai. It’s a great service that enables easy face-to-face communication, both one-on-one and for group meetings. And while it is built around its video communication capabilities, Teams also has direct messaging support as well as OneDrive integration for easy file sharing.

Teams has desktop apps for Windows, MacOS and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android. It comes as standard with Office-365 subscriptions.

3: For direct messaging: Slack

If you already have a video conferencing tool then Teams may not be for you, but if you do need an instant messaging solution then we’d wholeheartedly recommend Slack. Slack enables you to set up groups called workspaces. As part of a workspace, you can directly message colleagues and set up discussion channels where everyone can share ideas.

Slack is an incredibly popular communication tool, as evidenced by the many third party applications that have Slack integration built in. Zensai is a good example of a Slack-integrated service, as all our check-ins and reviews can be completed within the Slack platform.

4: For document production and transcription: Document Direct

Document Direct is a 24/7 digital transcription service endorsed by the Manchester Law Society. They also have ISO 27001 certification for information and security management. 

Aside from their transcription service, they also offer advice on formatting and adapting digital dictation systems you may already have. A fantastic help to remote focussed firms where any disruption caused by a mass switch to home working and illness can be mitigated through their expert service.

In light of COVID-19, Document Direct have put out a statement highlighting their combination of UK-based and geographically diverse staff and have promised to maintain “˜a very resilient and secure platform to help process your typing and help you maintain your own service levels.’

5: For outsourcing finance: The Cashroom

The Cashroom is a service allowing you to outsource financial functions. They’re perfect for if your whole accounting department suddenly has to self-isolate. Their services include cashiering, payroll and pension services, analytical management accounts, as well as efficiency, risk and compliance reviews.

The Cashroom describes themselves as “œsystem agnostic,” meaning they don’t require you to change any of the systems in place at your practice, making them an extremely flexible group to outsource to. The fact that they’re already using a network of remote workers to bring you this service means they’re sure to be resilient in the face of further quarantines.

6: For telephone and live chat management: Moneypenny

Ok so based on the stats, you’re firm are probably already very familiar with our neighbours here in North Wales.

Client accessibility and support are the backbone of a firm’s public face. So the idea that your associates might have to work at home and be unable to pick up the phone is a stressful one. Fortunately, Moneypenny is here so you can outsource your entire switchboard. Moneypenny’s PAs will manage phone-lines to your exact specifications. Anything important can be forwarded to you, and when you’re not available, they can give you your messages in text or email form.

Of course many firms face the challenge of client access by running live chat services online. The good news is that Moneypenny can look after these for you too. How they run it is up to you, but once the ball is rolling, you don’t have to worry.

7: For employee engagement and wellbeing: Zensai

The great thing about Zensai for remote workers is that their user experience is no different from that of people using it at the office. This is key as employee engagement is one of the workplace metrics that can suffer from a reduction in face-to-face time with colleagues, if not carefully managed.

Our employee check-in feature ensures that a firm’s leadership will get regular updates from all their employees no matter where they are. Even if you have to work from home, you don’t need to worry about falling out of the loop. Zensai lets you use SMART goals or OKRs to easily keep track of targets and your contributions.

Our demo options include online and over the phone, so it’ll take a lot more than Coronavirus to stop us showing you the ropes. Feel free to check out the options here.

8: Video interviews (Odro)

With all these people working from home, why not recruit them from home too? Odro’s  service is perfect for these difficult times. Clients can host and record live interviews online, or provide questions for applicants to answer in their own video. They also have oodles of analytic data for you to take advantage of, such as how recruiters are using the tools, and where interest spikes in interview recordings using heat-maps. 

9: For ambiance and focus: Spotify

Everyone’s music taste is different. So why not take advantage of having to work from home, and pick the tunes you actually like?

Everyone and their lawyer has at least heard of Spotify. It’s one of the largest music streaming services around. Their selection ranges from mainstream to eclectic, and if you don’t like working to music, there’s plenty of podcasts too.

10: For time zone conversion: World Time Buddy

WTB is probably the simplest of all our recommendations. It’s just a website that allows you to keep track of different time zones. That said, it has its share of useful functions. 

You organize people by group and location, and the website keeps you informed about things like DST or the differing workweeks some countries have. This is especially useful for big multinational firms still trying to run smoothly as COVID-19 spreads.

There you have it; all the tools we think could make the difference for legal professionals having to work remotely. So keep washing your hands, don’t forget to check in with your colleagues, and above all, stay safe.