Following government advice during the current Coronavirus pandemic, many legal professionals are now being asked to work from home until further notice. While 47% of our audience are currently offered flexibility and work/life balance as part of their benefits package, for many, this will be an unprecedented first taste of remote working. As with all first times, working from home is bound to initially be unsettling for some, while others may be excited by the prospect of a new professional experience.
At TotallyLegal, we already operate a flexible working system for our staff and this, combined with our legal profession expertise, puts us in good stead to write this guide on how to work from home for legal professionals.
Remote working tips for Lawyers, Paralegals and other legal professionals
- Don’t ditch your morning routine
- Freshen up & get dressed
- Set up a dedicated workstation
- Communicate with colleagues
- Stay motivated
- Attend your meetings
- Maintain the structure of your day
- Make the most of it
Don’t ditch your morning routine
When working from home, it can be easy to fall into the trap of starting work before you have really started your day, but for maximum productivity and positivity we advise not to open your laptop or start reading work emails until you have given yourself a chance to wake up.
The best way to do this is by sticking to something that resembles your regular morning routine. If you normally go to the gym before work or read on your commute, make time for those things so that by the time you do sit down to work, you are in the right headspace to face the day ahead of you.
Freshen up & get dressed
For some legal professionals, remote working offers a bit more freedom than usual in terms of attire. However, while no one expects you to be wearing full business dress in the comfort of your own home, putting on clean clothes in the morning will make you feel fresh, switched on and ready to face the day as you would in the office. For some people, this will mean putting on a crisply ironed shirt, while for others, jeans and a t-shirt will suffice.
Set up a dedicated workstation
Ideally, you will be working from a study, personal office or some other quiet space that houses a desk, supportive chair and all the technology and materials you need to get your job done to the high standard your employer expects.
However, we know that for many legal professionals, this is not possible. Alternatively, a dining table and chair make for a great makeshift workspace, while a sofa and coffee table combination offers a more relaxed environment from which to operate.
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Communicate with your colleagues
As a Paralegal, Lawyer or other legal professional, a good chunk of your working day will already involve liaising with colleagues. However, without care and consideration, working remotely can become the catalyst in a communication breakdown with your co-workers.
Make sure that you are regularly reaching out to your colleagues via telephone, video calls, email and messages, whether for business discussions or just to catch up. Consider also a Slack, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or similar group chat to maintain the camaraderie and banter of the office.
Without your colleagues and bosses around to encourage productivity, it can be easy to lose momentum in your work, so you’ll need to find out what you can do to keep yourself motivated and take full advantage of it. Maybe you need to schedule a team call every day to make sure you’re on top of your tasks or perhaps a yoga session in your living room will help you to get into the working zone.
Attend your meetings
It may seem the easiest option to cancel or postpone your meetings while everyone is confined to their homes, but by keeping your meetings as scheduled and attending them via video or telephone, you will be able to stay on track with your files, touch base with your clients and cause the least amount of disruption to your normal working day.
Maintain the structure of your day
Despite the traditional long working hours of legal, having entirely separate locations for your work and home helps you to maintain balance. Working remotely, this balance can become blurred, but by starting work on time, taking your usual breaks and signing off at the end of the day, you will be able to preserve your work/life balance.
Make the most of it
For many employed in the legal profession, remote working is not an everyday occurrence, so make sure you take full advantage of the extra time and flexibility afforded to you by this opportunity. The hours you save by not commuting will quickly add up, so use this time to do things for yourself. Whether this means spending an extra hour in bed, binging a TV series or learning to code is up to you, just make sure you are taking advantage of this perk.
Stay tuned to the TotallyLegal blog in the coming weeks and months as we share more advice, tips and interviews about working from home as a legal professional.
Are you a legal professional currently working remotely? Whether this is due to the current Coronavirus pandemic or a standard part of your role, we would like to hear about your experiences. Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.