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The ABCs of Creating a Successful Virtual Work Environment

Michael L Goldblatt

The ABCs of Creating a Successful Virtual Work Environment
m-gucci via Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace as we know it, both business- and environment-wise. Regardless of the changes you face, here are some simple tips to keep your practice moving along smoothly.

Avoid Distractions

  • Make a “Do Not Disturb” sign to alert others in the home when you are on the telephone or working on important tasks.
  • Purchase and use noise-canceling headphones to block noise.
  • Disable alerts on your computer and mobile devices to stop notifications during work hours.

Become Organized

  • Use "To Do" lists and prioritize them, along with a daily calendar to set aside time for lawyering, communicating, and personal/family matters.
  • Switch from paper files to cloud storage.
  • Eliminate clutter on your desktop.

Communicate with Video

  • Use video conferencing tools to replace face-to-face meetings with clients, staff, and colleagues.
  • Use email or texting for daily check-ins with associates and staff.
  • Mention your hours of operation in outgoing voicemail and emails and include instructions for emergency contact.

Dive into Social Media

  • Organize a virtual happy hour or lunch to meet up with associates.
  • Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to attract prospects and stay in touch with clients.
  • Establish a daily or weekly schedule of making posts and emailing clients and contacts.

Exercise Daily

  • Take daily exercise breaks to get recharged and improve your wellbeing.
  • Follow a video workout or take a walk, run, or bike ride.
  • Team up with friends and coworkers for fitness challenges and virtual workouts.

Fend Off Hackers

  • Watch out for email phishing, robocalls, and text message scams.
  • Block unknown senders, enable advanced security protection, and use a password manager.
  • Contact your IT handler with any questions or concerns that may arise as you face them.

Get Assistance

  • Visit your Bar Association's website for information, updates, and relief from business obstacles caused by coronavirus.
  • Consider hiring a virtual receptionist or assistant for help handling administrative or paralegal tasks.
  • Continue to communicate with your health or mental health provider regularly.

Hone Your Technology

  • Consider using case management software to handle billing, calendaring, contacts, etc.
  • Use a digital assistant such as Alexa, Cortana, or Siri to create appointments, make phone calls, and send messages.
  • Remember to back up data and protect confidential information.

Improve Your Workspace

  • Function your workspace to have as much privacy as is reasonably possible.
  • Replace old computers and printers to improve speed, reliability, and security.
  • Use a comfortable chair, set aside adequate workspace, and add a desk lamp for brighter lighting.

The coronavirus has accelerated the growing trend toward remote working in the legal profession. Using the tips in this article will help you to successfully work virtually during this pandemic and beyond.