As the world continues to open up bit by bit, many people in the legal field are wondering what’s going to happen next. When is it safe to go back to work? What will the new office environment be like? How about client meetings and communication?
Here’s an overview of top considerations for lawyers who are preparing to go back to the office.
Flexibility is going to be key in moving back to a semi-normal workplace. This means incorporating some kind of remote option may be wise. One survey found that 67% of legal workers say they want their job to stay remote after it’s safe to return to in-person work, even if it’s just a few days per week. So, it’s very possible that law firms will need to rethink work schedules and accommodations. Think through ways that you can be more flexible as we’re all adapting.
Legal and ethical considerations
Employers need to practice patience and take any employee concerns to heart as everyone is making the transition back to work. If someone is still not comfortable going back in person because of the virus, you should remain flexible in letting them work from home. If fired for not wanting to return due to being at higher risk from an underlying medical condition or safety concerns, an employee could come back with a discrimination claim. So, not only does it ethically make sense to be flexible about returning to work, it’s also a legal consideration, too.
Where the vaccine fits in
Many law firms may be wondering if they can require employees to get the vaccine to come back to work. Yes—businesses can require that their employees are vaccinated before returning to the office. Just keep in mind that accommodations must be made for anyone who cannot get the vaccine for medical or other legitimate reasons.
Always carefully consider the concerns and priorities of your teams. It may make sense to require the vaccine for people who want to come back to the office and offer the remote option for those who don’t want to get it. There is no one right answer, so an adaptable, open mindset is crucial.
Using cloud-based software for more flexibility
It’s a good idea for attorneys and law firms to embrace technologies that will help ease the transition back to in-person work or a hybrid work environment. Cloud-based tools allow team members to stay connected from anywhere and use any device to make updates to documents, manage databases, communicate with clients, and more.
A tool like NextChapter helps practices integrate technologies like automation and keep everything on the cloud for easier, more flexible access to cases and client information.
Sign up for a free trial of NextChapter and see just how much the legal software can improve team productivity and collaboration.