The digital revolution has changed the way we work and live, but not all of those changes are for the better. There’s a significant downside to all this connectivity: an epidemic of distraction that is making us less productive and more irritable.
How can you make sure your remote law firm team stays focused? Follow these tips:
Establish a Meeting Schedule and Stick to it
Establishing a set time for team meetings is very important. Team members can meet on Mondays, Fridays, or any other day, but they should make sure that everybody knows when the meetings will happen. This allows them to keep their workdays organized and not waste time trying to find each other during times when nobody is available for discussion.
Stay in Touch through Instant Messaging
Having an IM (instant messaging) channel open throughout the day, between all members of the team, is critical. It works like phone calls used to – people let everyone know if they’re available by logging into their accounts, then they stay online until somebody else needs them; at which point they go offline and somebody else logs in to talk.
Set up a Single Source Regarding Deadlines
Every team member of legal consulting firm should have a list of tasks they’re responsible for every day, along with the deadlines for each one. This way it’s easy to see what everybody needs from each other without having several sources of information. If somebody has already been tasked with something, don’t ask them again – this is inefficient and can create conflict within the team due to confusion. It also wastes their time and energy when they could be focusing on more important activities or delegating tasks that only they can do anyway! Just take a look at your list before you send out any requests.
Communicate Often and Openly
Every member of the remote legal consulting firm must know what’s going on. At least at a glance. When things are changing constantly, team members need to know what’s happening right away so they can be prepared for whatever comes next. They also should know how their work contributes to the big picture. If someone is stuck or has questions, others should help them as soon as possible – don’t let it become a bottleneck that holds up your entire project!
Set Guidelines for Communication and Protocols
Meetings follow specific sets of rules – be clear about these before you begin any discussion with your remote legal consulting firm teams. Make sure everybody knows who will do most of the talking (it could be different every time), who will take notes, whether discussions will be recorded or not, how people will indicate that they need to speak (whether it’s verbal, raising a hand, etc.), and what kind of language is considered acceptable for the team.
Avoid Interruptions as Much as Possible
If somebody is busy working on something – let them work! – Don’t keep bugging them about other things. If they’re interrupted too often their tasks and deadlines might slip and this could lead to even more problems than you started with. It wastes everybody’s time and energy and makes them less productive overall. Plus, there’s no guarantee that whatever you want from them won’t wait – especially if you’re the one asking!
Trust is critical when managing remote legal consulting firm teams, and it’s not easy to build. You need to be consistent, fair, and open with your team members; and they need to know that you’ll do the same for them. They also need to know that if their actions destroy trust between you and them, they will be held accountable – so don’t test this!
Holding people accountable can be scary when working with remote law firm teams, but it is necessary for success. If everybody knows there are consequences for failing to meet deadlines or share information as needed, then nobody takes advantage of anybody else. This leads back to establishing clear expectations at the beginning of the project as well as an organized method for communicating those expectations throughout the entire process.
Stay Flexible and Make Changes as Needed
Things change constantly, and it can be more difficult to manage remote legal consulting firm teams if you’re struggling with a rigid schedule. Everybody must be open to adjusting their responsibilities and deadlines on short notice; especially if they’ve been clearly defined from the beginning of the project. This does not mean that anybody can take advantage of such changes or start making requests without reason, but rather that everyone understands the need for flexibility to reach an end goal efficiently.
If there’s more than one month left before a deadline, consider extending it – even just by a little bit! While this might seem counter-intuitive at first because it could lead to problems further down the line, it makes sure that both your team members and tasks are more efficient.
If you’re constantly getting frustrated with your remote legal consulting firm teams, consider this a red flag: something isn’t going right, and it’s time to find out why. It could be a lack of communication skills on the part of one or more of your team members, or it might be a logistical problem of some sort.
Check in regularly with each member individually if necessary to see what they need from you to make their jobs easier, or give them specific instructions about how they should go about contacting you to avoid constant interruptions when you’re busy (both will require trust). Make sure everyone has all the resources they need without stepping on each other’s toes, and help your team members see where their skills are being wasted or underutilized.
Don’t forget to reward everyone for a job well done! Acknowledge the great work you’re seeing from everybody, especially if it doesn’t happen often, and make sure they know why you think it’s worth celebrating. You’ll also want to make sure that nobody feels left out when there are rewards to be given nobody wants to feel like they don’t contribute as much as everybody else. With all this in mind, you should be able to manage your remote legal consulting firm teams easily no matter how many different personalities are involved!