Working remotely is the future — how to make an impact and influence

We spoke to a pool of trainee solicitors that work across small firms, larger firms and in-house legal departments about how they work effectively remotely. We are unlikely to be covid-free anytime soon and with the government’s latest guidance to continue working from home for the foreseeable future we look at how to effectively impact and influence whilst working remotely.

For lawyers in the UK , the traditional training experience in the office is based on gaining skills from sitting with a senior lawyer or partner observing how they work and interacting with clients. The pandemic has forced lawyers to adapt and shows us how the role of the lawyer either in private practice or in-house legal departments is constantly evolving.

Whilst the people we spoke to were all legal professionals, this will be relevant to everybody that wants to ensure they are working effectively remotely.

1. Don’t be afraid to voice your ideas

Whatever level you are at, your ideas are not valued. You may be from a generation that has been using computers from a young age and has grown up seeing this as part of everyday life and your colleagues will look to you for ideas on making their work more efficient, particularly those that may be less tech savvy.

2. Turn your emails into a work of art — attention to detail has never been more important

Not being able to walk up to your colleague’s desk and have an informal discussion means that we are relying on email communication and we also have to be careful about how we come across to the reader. Using the wrong tone or missing out punctuation can completely change what you are saying in your email. Pre-empting potential questions and answering them in your email is a good way of cutting down the amount time spent on writing an email whilst also being helpful and informative. Senior colleagues will be looking more closely at the way we come across in emails as it is the only way of assessing how we communicate with others.

3. Talk about your successes

Don’t forget to mention any successes you have had at your team meetings. This could be a happy client, the completion of a commercial contract or a talk you may have delivered to a group. Reminding your colleagues of your successes helps to keep you at the forefront of their mind as we are not physically present which means we have to work harder to remind our colleagues of all the hard work we are doing.

4. Take part in extracurricular activities

If your organisation runs a book club or a running club, then take part. Doing something completely different with your colleagues, even if it is remotely, helps to remain rapport with them and thereby creates stronger relationships. It will also be helpful at taking your mind off work when you go into overload. Having no separation between work and home life means each day can mull over into the next and associating your work with something enjoyable can make it less enduring and keep you motivated.

5. Become an expert at the systems that your organisation offers

Whatever systems your organisation uses, become an expert at using them. Technology is the future and becoming an expert will make your job easier but also make you more employable and means you can suggest ways to be more effective such as creating interactive presentations or finding shortcuts within excel or word.

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