It’s becoming abundantly clear to anyone keeping up that it was far easier to stop the economy than it will be to restart it. After many discussions in my network, it seems most people think we may never be able to go back to the way we used to work.
All that normal office stuff we never think about - commuting, secretarial hubs, chatting at a desk, making a round of tea, sharing phones and handling IT equipment – we will have to think about. The fact is that people want to go to work. They enjoy the structure and routine, the social aspect, the collaboration; just being around other people is really important to the human psyche. We aren’t programmed to be closeted alone in the box room with a laptop, talking on Zoom with 50 other people.
But firms have to manage this return carefully and it will involve changes to the way firms work at a very fundamental level – support staff and workflow. So, indeed more of that normal office stuff we never think about but will really have to start, in what promises to be a very long post-lockdown period.
Outsourcing has always been a solution to resourcing in a law firm because its flexibility is exactly what lawyers need. It is there when it’s needed - for large and onerous tasks, secretarial absence, busy holiday periods and weekends/out-of-hours convenience. I believe that the post-lockdown period is going to see an increase in need for secretarial and document outsourcing, becoming a fundamental part of a law firm’s workflow and business continuity planning.
Firms are talking about day-sharing arrangements – some days working from home and some in the office. This scenario is of course a good way to start the office up again, but things like slow wi-fi can be very disruptive to a working day, particularly when trying to work on large or multiple Word documents. Peaks in workflow are difficult to manage at the best of times.
Consider the following recent real-life examples:
A recorded two-hour board meeting takes up to 16 hours to transcribe and proof.
15 hours of attendance notes backlog means your compliance is at risk.
A 200-page shareholder agreement with lost formatting and numbering will take a Word expert 4-6 hours to fix.
Lawyers and secretaries simply don’t have time to deal with such things, while a quality outsourcing service is designed to deal with such things.
Workflow bottlenecks add to your team’s stress and frustration, and naturally lead to bottlenecks in the firm’s income. Keeping matters moving means unlocking WIP and being able to bill clients.
Business continuity has never been more important to a law firm’s success. Outsourcing provides business continuity because it can be used when it is needed, and that decision is within your control.
Whether your office engages in a gradual return, sharing days or even decreasing staffing levels, these arrangements are disruptive. Workflow systems need looking at and I believe will take higher priority than it has because it is fundamental to getting your work done - and getting paid for it. A quality outsourcing service is the solution to workflow issues and therefore to business continuity and success.
Contact us to discuss possible solutions to help positive change in your business.