As many of us prepare to work remotely in light of the pandemic, a Chinese saying comes to mind: “May you live in interesting times.” Certainly the impact of the novel Coronavirus has made our times quite interesting. Granted, the idea of working from home or otherwise remotely might be a pleasant fantasy. But what happens when it becomes a necessity? How can an organization prepare to migrate its operations to a virtual, remote environment at a moment’s notice?
Make a Plan. Stick to the Plan – Experiencing the effects of a pandemic may be new, but there are other events (inclement weather, protests, lockdowns, natural disasters) that we’ve all dealt with before. Events happen that disrupt normal operations. Make a plan to prepare to work remotely, and make sure staff know their roles in the plan. Test your plan’s feasibility, so that if you have to use it, everyone knows what to do.
Keep your Matters, Cases or Projects Moving Forward — Here is where technology, software and applications are worth their weight in gold. More and more organizations are moving to either the cloud itself, or hosted solutions (Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, third-party hosting platforms) for remote access to programs and data.
At a minimum, staff need access to:
- Practice Management/ CRM software
- Accounting, time/fee tracking and billing
- General office functionality – word processing, spreadsheets, etc. (MS Office or Google)
- Documents – document management, document storage, document assembly if needed
- Any other programs or applications unique to your type of work (legal, manufacturing, project management)
Also consider the output for your product. This may involve scanning and printing. If you need clients to sign documents, consider electronic signing applications such as DocuSign or HelloSign.
Communication, Communication, Communication – This is vital. There are many solutions on the market today that support internal staff communication such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc.However, if you are in an occupation that requires confidentiality, such as working within a law firm, be advised these examples are open communication and do not support the standards of confidentiality that need to be met. In such cases, contact us at Crosspointe for recommendations on secure internal communications.
Make sure your office phone systems can forward calls to individuals working remotely.
Let your clients and other important contacts know how to reach you. If you need to collaborate with clients and other important contacts, let us know–we can recommend programs and applications that support secure Client portals for sharing documents and other communications.
As this pandemic develops further, we will be posting some more specifics on technology tools that can be deployed to blunt the impact of this business disruption. Stay tuned!
Finding yourself in the middle of a crisis is not the time to begin thinking about how to cope with it. We can help – both in suggesting solutions and showing you how to get the most out of your programs that already have the solutions. Be assured that while we remain focused on the health and safety of our team, we are also focused on continued service to our clients. We have already taken steps to ensure we can continue to deliver the level of quality, excellence and timeliness you expect, even during these unique circumstances. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 877-357-0555.
Dana Riel is President and Founder of Business Solutions, Inc., serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1985. Her firm is the authorized training center for the region for Time Matters and PCLaw by PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC; Timeslips and Peachtree Accounting by Sage Software; and QuickBooks by Intuit Corporation. As a trainer, Dana has provided training services to organizations such as the DOD Defense Logistics Agency, Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAG)/Department of the Navy, University of the District of Columbia School of Law, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as with small‐ to mid‐size law firms in the Baltimore‐Washington D.C. area. In 2009, she participated in the series of day‐long seminars sponsored by the District of Columbia Bar Association Practice Management Section, titled “Basic Training: Learn About Running a Law Office”. Ms. Riel also served as an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Paralegal Studies Program, having taught the course, “Legal Ethics/Legal Technology” in 2009; and “Legal Technology” for the Spring and Summer Semesters of 2010. She presently serves on the Advisory Board for PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC.