How Do I Integrate Remote Employees into My Law Firm?

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Many employers post-pandemic are asking themselves, when are we going to officially go back to office? Well, you may have realized that remote work is now the norm. Whether you like it or not, we’ve entered into an era where remote work has eclipsed in-person work. So rather than react negatively and potentially lose valuable employees, it’s important to change and adapt to the new virtual landscape.

It’s important for your remote employees to feel integrated into your firm as a whole, which can initially feel strange since cultivating a supportive work environment often relies on in-person events. However, with a little effort, it’s not only possible to integrate your remote employees but the virtual tools can help your in-person employees as well. Remote team integration is one of the many topics covered at the Brain Trust Legal conferences and events, with expert voices providing actionable strategies. Here are just a few ways that you can integrate your work employees to cultivate the ideal work culture at your firm.

How Do I Adjust Work Events To Cater To Remote Employees?

Work events are one of the major ways that your employees meet and socialize with their peers, as well as network with their superiors. It’s an essential opportunity to get to know people who they may not work alongside and to feel as though they are part of a larger community. Work events don’t normally cater to the remote employee, however, there are a couple ways to include your remote workers and make them feel like they are part of the team.

  • Fly Out Your Remote Employees: If your company has the financial means, one of the best ways to include your remote employees in events is to make travel arrangements for them to join in on the festivities. This applies specifically to larger work events, like holiday parties. Although this can seemingly defeat the purpose of adjusting the event to cater to your remote workers, this gesture will make your employees feel as if they are truly valued. The benefits of face-to-face time, particularly for the larger work events, will go a long way to boost company morale.
  • Host Virtual Learning and Development Events: A great way to foster team-building, as well as learning opportunities for all employees is to host virtual events. These can include weekly virtual caselaw roundtables or Zoom mock trials. These types of events demand live problem solving and encourage your virtual and in-person employees to work together as a team. In addition to building a relationship, your employees can build their skills and feel like their work fosters a collaborative growth environment.
  • Create Virtual Mentorship Opportunities: Most workers want opportunities for mentorship but virtual workers often feel left out because it can be significantly harder to find a mentor to build relationships within the company. Create a virtual mentorship program where novice attorneys can learn the ropes from more experienced professionals. A mentorship program also serves as an additional way for your remote workers to feel more connected to the team as a whole.

How Do I Include Remote Workers In Daily Operations?

Remote employees should feel like they are naturally integrated within the company, rather than a separate entity. One of the best ways to integrate your remote employees is to take the extra step to always include your remote employees in all aspects of daily operations. It can be easy to only focus on the people you see day-to-day, but it’s important not to accidentally punish your remote employees by forgetting to leave them out of the workflow.

Whereas you may be used to dropping by someone’s desk to either assign a task or communicate, it’s essential to develop a documented workflow. Include your remote employees in all the newsletters or daily to do lists. If you’re used to verbally communicating – either create a weekly virtual check-in or switch to creating more scheduled email communication to ensure your virtual employees aren’t left out of crucial task-setting. Learn how to use the tools at your disposal. Although it may seem awkward at first to have to include a mix of in-person and virtual employees in every meeting, it’s a crucial part of the workflow.

If your company is able, invest in technology that makes communicating with your virtual employees easier, such as Zoom conference rooms, as well as microphones and speakers. If you host important work events, always include a Zoom link for your remote employees. Simple adjustments like these will leave your remote employees feeling included and avoid many miscommunication issues.

How Do I Integrate Remote Work Into My Firm?

Understanding the remote work landscape means becoming more flexible toward your current in-office employees. Remote work or hybrid work opportunities are becoming more popular for all employees. You may receive requests from your in-office employees to move into remote work, and it’s important to have a framework in place.

Expanding remote work options to your in-office employees can actually maximize productivity, as well as benefit your employees’ well-being. Again, creating and putting a structure in place for your existing remote workers will ensure that a transition from in-person to remote is fairly seamless. In-person employees may have a variety of reasons why they want remote opportunities. Some may need to relocate for a period of time due to health reasons, family issues, or financial concerns. Being flexible and allowing your employees to work remotely allows your employee to feel supported. They are more likely to be loyal to your firm if they feel you are willing to consider their perspective and create an environment where they can address their own life events, while still remaining a valuable member of the company. If you’ve created a beneficial structure for your remote employees, it should be fairly easy to integrate your in-person employee into that work structure without disrupting workflow.

How Do I Maintain Communication With Remote Workers?

Good communication is probably the most important tool to effectively integrate your remote workers. Utilizing technology programs will strengthen team member interaction & communication.

One of the most popular communication platforms is Slack. Slack is a chat-based communication application. If you have remote employees, Slack is an essential tool for collaboration. Slack has “channels”, which allow team members to discuss different topics. These Slack channels can be public or private and can be used to share documents, messages, files, and updates. Additionally, Slack has video chat features which can be helpful either to host casual meetings or quick check-ins. Employers can also use Slack channels to help foster a supportive workplace culture – by creating more personal Slack channels where employees can ask questions or connect with their peers through shared interests.

Other communication programs such as Teams, Discord, and even Google Drive can increase communication and collaboration within your employees. It’s important to utilize the programs that work for your team members, as well as learning how to collaborate across multiple platforms. For example, your team may create presentations using Google Drive, utilize Teams for conference meetings, and discuss feedback within Slack. Although it may seem overwhelming to use these online collaboration platforms at first glance, they are user-friendly and ultimately result in a more efficient workflow.

How Do I Ensure My In-Person And Remote Workers Are Treated Equally?

When you have both in-person workers and remote workers, it’s important to provide equal opportunities for advancement and benefits within the company. For some employers, it may seem like being an in-person means they are more devoted or going the extra mile for the company. This is not the case. It’s essential to provide the same opportunities for all your workers. This means that if you provide bonuses or gifts, those should be available to all workers, to the best of your ability. If there are holiday events, you should ensure your remote workers feel included. If there are opportunities for advancement within the company, that should be communicated in a way that targets all employees, not just the in-person employees. Utilize the techniques we’ve outlined, to effectively communicate all opportunities to your employees.

At the end of the day, the work landscape has changed. It’s up to your company to determine how these changes can be for the better instead of hindrances to your growth. With some simple adjustments, all your employees can feel as if they are valued and integrated within your firm. To learn more about how Brain Trust Legal can help your firm make the adjustments necessary to make your virtual and remote team members feel just like the rest of your team, you can call (855)743-1636 from anywhere across the United States to speak with a member of the BTL team.

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