How to effectively manage remote teams with technology

How to effectively manage remote teams with technology

 

For the legal industry, technology offers increasing potential to power faster, more efficient working practices. With greater transparency over business operations firms can have more visibility over their teams, as well as more control over cost and risk.

In the current crisis, the industry has shifted to managing legal teams remotely on a more permanent basis, these potential benefits have come sharply into focus for many legal teams and firms. So, how can you harness technology to make the best of this challenging situation? And what are the pitfalls to watch out for?

 

Here are a few aspects you may want to consider:

  • Cloud-based platforms, video-conferencing and chat software, e-signature programmes, and other tech tools are helping to replicate normal working practices while teams are socially distanced during COVID-19. If used correctly, technology can help teams stay in contact with each other, look after their clients, and stay informed with the latest legal updates almost seamlessly.

    Our LexisNexis’ practice note Choosing and using cloud services can be used for further guidance on this topic. It covers the security implications of using cloud services, maintaining backup and access as well as how to ensure the integrity of the data.

  • Video-conferencing, is a vital tool to replicate your day-to-day meetings with clients and your team. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are popular options, but it’s important to get buy-in from your IT function, as well as your clients, to assess which might be the right fit for your firm.

    There’s a temptation to rely on cheap and easy voice-only conference calls. But be wary: a huge part of communication is non-verbal, and the importance of face-to-face communication shouldn’t be underestimated.

  • Collaborative chat programmes, like Slack, can be useful for moment-to-moment contact with your team, for example. They’re ideal for asking quick-fire questions or getting minor updates.
  • One-on-one video calls, in addition to straightforward work calls, are a great way to check in with members of your team. Are they adapting well to the new set-up? How are they balancing work and home? Are there any other tools that might help them complete their tasks? Do they have any thoughts or constructive feedback on the current situation that you could discuss and take action on?

    Taking the team’s emotional temperature during this crisis is an important step to managing them effectively and supporting their mental wellbeing.

  • Moderation is key. One downside of technology in the remote working space is that workers run the risk of never truly switching off. They’re always contactable, and particularly in the legal industry. To combat this, establish hours of availability to safeguard the team’s downtime. And consider setting up a casual group chat on Whatsapp for non-work talk or social events, so there’s more of a line between professional and personal.
  • Finally, during this time, when the team is so reliant on tech tools, be sure to collect data. The analytics will provide you with essential information on how people are working, which areas can be improved, and can help identify any problematic or particularly successful areas.

 

Managing remote teams is challenging for all companies and parties involved, however, technology and guidance can help ease some of the typical sticking points you may be experiencing.

Our practice note Managing virtual meetings offers further legal tips and hints on running these meetings professionally and effectively through technology, be it internally, with clients or senior stakeholders. You may also want to read Managing remote teams to help you to get the tone and balance right in these challenging times and beyond. This guidance note offer advice on shifting your management style to better fit with remote management, whilst getting the most out of your legal team in the long-term.

 

In managing the many facets and potential pitfalls that can occur in managing legal compliance and risk remotely, Lexis®PSL can offer you accessible legal guidance, practice notes, precedents, forms and timelines—helping you to win cases, close deals and save time in your day-to-day role.

 

Click here for more information on LexisPSL and to sign-up for a free trial.

 

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About the author:

Amy is an established writer and researcher, having contributed to publications, such as The Law Society, LPM, City A.M. and Financial IT. Her role at LexisNexis UK involved leading content and thought leadership, as well as writing research reports, including "The Bellwether Report 2020, Covid-19: The next chapter" and "Are medium-sized firms the change-makers in legal?"