April 01, 2020 Practice Points

Tips for Effective Remote Working

A few quick tips to help you adjust to this new normal of working remote.

By Donald F. Winningham III

We are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it relates to law and litigation. Find more resources and articles on our COVID-19 portal. For the duration of the crisis, all coronavirus-related articles are outside the Section of Litigation paywall and available to all readers.

Citizens throughout the country have been affected by the measures put in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Lawyers and law firms are not immune and, like so many, are dealing with the ramifications. With so many offices closed in an effort to “flatten the curve,” attorneys across the country are trying to remain productive and serve their clients from their dining rooms while wrestling their children with whom they are now sharing workspace. Here are a few quick tips to help those of us who are trying to adjust to this new normal:

  1. Maintain and/or develop a routine: You have heard the old saying that human beings are creatures of habit, right? Well, there is no reason for those of us sheltering in place to dump the good routines we have developed over the course of our careers or avoid developing new ones to cope with this situation. Maintaining the routine you’ve developed over many years will keep your mind engaged and on task, helping you be productive in an unfamiliar environment. If you usually get to work at 9:00 AM, plan to start your workday at home at the same time. Eat lunch around the same time. Keeping things as familiar as possible will go a long way in maintaining productivity.
  2. Continue grooming and attire standards: Though billing hours in your pajamas might sound like a top-notch notion, for many it will reduce productivity. Go ahead and get out of bed and go through your normal morning routine as if you were headed to the office. A tie or a skirt is not required, but getting ready and changing clothes puts you in the mindset to get to work.
  3. Create a dedicated work space: Who wouldn’t want to work on their couch? Unfortunately, that’s probably not the best place to get work done. The ideal situation is to create a space that is exclusively for work, whether it’s a spare room in your house or apartment or a small table set up in the corner. It will be a signal for both yourself and anyone else occupying your living quarters that you are working and should not be disturbed.
  4. Communicate regularly: For those of us who work almost exclusively in the office, we see our supervising attorneys and coworkers regularly and usually discuss what we’re working on. That option is now off the table, so it is imperative that you communicate regularly with your team to let them know what you are doing. This allows supervising attorneys to keep track of projects being completed and prevents duplicative efforts by coworkers.

Hopefully, these tips will help you maintain your productivity in this unusual time. Everyone, stay safe.

Start Your Litigation Membership Today!

Join the ABA's Section of Litigation and gain value and insight in your career, no matter your experience level. Signing up is easy and grants you member-only access to the latest news, information, and thinking on litigation strategy.

Donald F. Winningham III is of counsel at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., in their Birmingham, Alabama, office.


Copyright © 2020, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).