Managing Remote Work in Law Firms Amid COVID-19 Situation

In response to the COVID-19 situation, your firm may already have plans in place to support remote work, but do you know how to access critical business applications such as your case management software?

Here are some tips and considerations your firm can use when moving staff to remote work.

What to communicate to staff

Communication is critical when implementing a work from home policy. Beyond sending an email to staff outlining the policy, it’s important to make sure all staff members have the ability to work from home. This includes access to high-speed internet, a clean safe working area and computer and phone equipment and accessories. Make sure you inventory which pieces of equipment are on loan. Staff members that need to access paper files should receive reminders to scan any documents they’ll need to access before leaving the office.

Once the transition to remote work begins, frequent communication and check-ins are important. If you hold regular staff meetings, make sure you are checking in with phone calls, virtual meetings or through instant messaging. Applications such as Microsoft Teams allow you to chat with staff, share documents and have video calls.

Answering calls using phones from home

To keep things as seamless as possible, you’ll need remote access to call systems. Firms should contact their IT or office manager for instructions on how to make and receive calls off-site. Many vendors offer a software-based phone that can be installed on a desktop or mobile device. Other products may have more limited functionality such as forwarding calls to another number that can be answered off-site.

Don’t miss an important client call by skipping this step. If utilizing video meetings, such as Zoom, in place of in-person meetings, make sure staff are aware of best practices such as minimizing distracting background noise and scenery, remembering to mute at the appropriate time, using proper lighting and testing audio and video quality before meetings take place. Several applications can offer telephony access through your computer, such as Ring Central. These solutions allow you to handle all aspects of your communications.

Accessing case management software remotely

Cloud-based case management solutions such as the all-new Needles Neos allow firms to manage all aspects of their firm from any location at any time. While this solution is designed to provide full access to all of your client data, documents, calendar and workflow on the go, there are also solutions available for on-premise firms that will allow you to maintain productivity during this period.

For remote access to use on-premise case management software, remote desktop is a good solution. This will work if your office has an IT services provider, a static public IP address and Windows 7, 8 or 10 Professional/Enterprise installed on your work PCs. Your IT provider can enable Microsoft remote desktop access. You will be able to connect to the PC from many different devices at home. This option will require your IT department or IT service provider to open ports, enable access through the firewall and more.

A simpler option, especially for smaller firms, could be using a tool such as TeamViewer or LogMeIn (GoToMeeting). These solutions are ideal for offices that do not have an IT services provider or a public IP address. They are third party access products that can be installed on both your work PC and a home PC so that the home PC can connect to your work PC.

Finally, you may engage with a managed service provider to host all of your infrastructure (including your on-premise version of Needles) in the cloud, providing remote access from anywhere. Needles offers this service to our customers using the market-leading Microsoft Azure Web Services. We have expanded our infrastructure to offer this service to a wider number of firms at this time.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about this solution or our web-based solution, Needles Neos. These solutions will greatly simplify your ability to manage all of your firm’s needs anytime, anywhere.

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