During this time, where people must stay inside during the pandemic, you may consider running a law practice from home. If you’re planning to do so, there are some things that you need to do to ensure your products and continue to earn money.
Are you concerned about running your law firm from home? There’s no need to worry! We’re going to provide you with an in-depth guide about running your business.
Here are all the basics you need to know when running a law practice from the comfort of your own home.
Use a Virtual Office.
There are many ways to run a cheap virtual office. It’s recommended that when doing work, such as typing up legal documentation that needs filing, you do all these things in your home office.
Yet, using a virtual office is so that you can continue to conduct meetings with clients and staff even though your working from home doesn’t mean that your level of professionalism should go out the window.
Besides, virtual communication is easier than sending an email and waiting for a response. It’s also better than sending a text message, which can be unprofessional when dealing with clients.
Working remote for legal professionals is essential during the pandemic and is also a reason to improve your virtual business skills to ensure that your professionalism is kept up.
Set Office Hours.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that you want people to contact you at all hours of the day. Before beginning your home office law firm, you need to decide on the hours that you’ll be available to take calls from potential clients.
You’re going to set office hours or working hours because when you operate a business from home, people are going to feel that you should be available at all times. And that is not the truth at all.
Once your office hours have concluded, then it’s the same as ending the business day. Unless it’s an emergency, you shouldn’t get any more calls or take more calls after your hours have ended.
Setup Your Home Office.
Your home office should be set apart from the other rooms in your home. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should complete your work in front of a television.
Think about trying to type up legal documents or try to complete research while watching your favorite tv show. While this may not sound like a problem to you, you’re not giving all your attention and effort to the work that you’re attempting to finish.
The area that you complete your work in should be free of all distractions. If you’re at home with children and your spouse, you may consider working in a room with a door that can close during your office hours.
It may surprise you how much work you’ll complete if you’re not distracted by the environment around you.
Upgrade Your Equipment.
Since you’re completing most of your work from home, you’ll need the software to support client information. The software will also keep up with invoices during the time that you’re at home. If you are planning to continue running your office from home even after the pandemic has concluded, you’ll need to have a system.
You’ll need to have up-to-date billing software on your computer and an online system for clients to enter their information. Having all this information electronically documented keeps you organized, but it’s also beneficial when it’s time to file your taxes.
Instead of having to hunt for paperwork, you’ll know where everything is on your computer. Along with having the proper software on your computer to keep up with business documents, you also need to consider the physical equipment that you’re using.
Ensure that you have a computer that has the space to store all your documents. You may consider having to separate computer monitors designated to different aspects of your business.
You’re also going to want to invest in a supportive chair to sit in. You’ll be spending hours in the chair the last thing you’ll want to do is buy a chair that is uncomfortable and have to sit in it all day during your business hours.
Running an Office From Home Temporarily.
If your office has moved to your home because of the current pandemic and you’ll move back to your work office when things have settled down, some things can be done to make the transition smoother. All the items listed below are going to help you continue conducting business without missing a beat.
Have a Weekly Schedule.
It can be easy to fall into a routine of lying about and not getting anything done; but, being at home is not a reason to let work fall to the waist side. Every week you should send out a company email with the schedule for the week and the meeting times that you and your staff will adhere to while out of the office.
Sending the schedule ahead of time will ensure that everyone is given ample time to set aside the necessary hours for these meetings.
Download Video Conferencing Software.
One of the most popular software right now for employers working from home and still needing to communicate with their staff is Zoom. Zoom allows you to send a link and password to people that you want to enter into your meeting.
Zoom also allows more than five people to conference with one another at a time. The other benefit of using conferencing software like Zoom is that it produces a record of all conversations or messages that have taken place during the meeting for the host.
If you’re using the conference to detail some significant points to your employees, you can tell them to message any thoughts that they have, and you can review them and introduce them in the next meeting.
Conference calls will help you and your team to stay on top of all the tasks that you need to complete during the time spent at home.
Create a System to Log Hours.
You may wonder how you’ll keep track of the hours that your employees are working in order to pay them. Understandably, you won’t want to pay people if they are sitting at home not doing anything.
To alleviate this, create a system that allows your employees to log the hours that they are working. For some, this could mean creating a system that shows you who is online during business hours and whose not.
Another way of logging the hours that your employees are working is to have them keep track of their hours and send a report by the end of the business day of the things that were completed.
Each employee should be provided with several tasks that need to be completed for the week. And if the reports being sent to you are showing low production, then it’s safe to say that the employee isn’t doing what they need to do while at home.
If this is too much for you during the meeting, make it known amongst your team the hours that you expect them to be online. This will keep you from having to do the extra work of delegating tasks to each member of your team.
When you’re not working in the same office, it can be challenging to trust your employees to get done, but if you don’t trust them, then what was the point of hiring them. Try to refrain from micromanaging and checking up on them many times during the day or the week.
If they are focusing on answering your call to update you on the work they are doing, it may interfere with their concentration. This will create a distraction causing them not to get their work done. Instead, let them know what your expectations are when it comes to upholding company standards and give them the space they need to complete their work.
Leave Nothing Unsaid.
Since you are not in the office, it’s not as easy to walk down the hall and tell someone something you forgot to tell them. When you’re working from home, and your staff is in a different location, the best thing that you can do as their boss is to over-communicate with them.
Even if the information you gave them was present in the weekly newsletter, communicate it anyway. You’d much rather have told them five times then have told them once and have multiple people forget what was said.
Running a Law Practice From Home Isn’t Easy.
Some may think that running a law practice from home is easy because your doing it from home, but that aspect can also what makes it the most challenging. Whether you’re running your practice from home permanently or temporarily, all of the factors listed above should be considered.
We hope that you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. For more articles like this one, check out the blog section of our site for other insightful and informative content.