Working Remotely—and Safely—Away from the Office
By Wayne Nitti
The century-old, traditional office model for law firms – where attorneys toiled away long into the night, sacrificing family and friends for clients – is changing.
Thanks to rapid advancements in technology, law firms are finally coming around to the idea of the virtual office, which has become a staple for other industries.
In a recent survey by Robert Half Legal, nearly 6 in 10 lawyers (58%) cited flexible scheduling as the top policy to help strengthen work-life balance. Remote work arrangements ranked second, with 57% of the survey response. Nearly 7 in 10 respondents (68%) reported that the number of lawyers at their law firms/companies who work remotely has significantly or somewhat increased in the last 12 months.
Working remotely benefits not just the employees who enjoy improved quality of life (and less stress), but the employer, as well, because happier employees mean lower turnover rates. This improvement can also translate into increased productivity, since employees can work without the interruptions that often occur in an office setting. Additionally, there is less time wasted getting to and from the office, which, in large cities, can often be a significant – and stressful – chunk of the workday.
Another major driver in this change is the shifting age of the workforce: younger employees tend to be more tech-savvy and less hidebound to the traditional office structure. They also frequently place a premium on the importance of life outside the office. Working remotely provides them with a better opportunity to strike that balance.
Organizations can also realize major cost savings in overhead by embracing this shift: office rent, for example, is often a big ticket expense which can be mitigated by firms embracing a remote workplace for at least part of their operations. Employees see financial benefits as well, with minimized commuting costs.
Transitioning to a remote workplace environment is not without its hurdles. Law firms tend to be conservative when faced with these seismic shifts in workplace structure and they have legitimate concerns that may have contributed to their reluctant adoption: compliance, client confidentiality, and data privacy are ethical issues vital to a law practice. In the “closed loop” of a law office, these matters can be centrally addressed by the IT department, but when associates and partners are in remote locations, security and data breaches are serious issues. In addition, corporate hacking is on the rise, which makes ensuring secure communications an even greater worry for attorneys.
Given these significant concerns, law firms embracing a remote office model should employ a shareable online case management system that also provides their organization with state-of-the-art security.
At Case Anywhere, data protection is of paramount importance. Our proprietary software creates restricted, private spaces for individual cases. We employ secure socket layer (SSL) protection, multi-factor authentication, and database encryption. We monitor and back up all data. Additionally, with our bundled case management offering, various case management functions are available through one secure site – e-filing and e-service; document hosting, including document productions; message board communication; and calendaring functions. Aggregating various case management tools is not only convenient but also mitigates the chance of security breach by limiting the number of web-based applications that need to be accessed.
Even for those firms which continue to operate in the traditional office model, having a secure anywhere, anytime case management platform can play a key role in connecting attorneys and professional staff team members across various offices. Clients, experts, or insurers can also confidently be provided full or limited access to any case file, as needed.
To find out more about how Case Anywhere’s online case management system can facilitate your remote workplace environment, request a demonstration or email our support team. We look forward to working with you in and out of the office.