How Data is Disrupting the Legal Industry

  • Agile Working
  • Client Experience
  • Company Culture
  • Productivity
  • The Office
How Data is Disrupting the Legal Industry

ComXo were joined by five legal tech experts from various technology providers in a virtual roundtable discussion, moderated by Andrew Lewis, Head of New Business at CTS. The discussion's aim was to examine the importance of data and analytics in the legal sector, as well as how law firms should use them to overcome sector-specific challenges and gain a competitive advantage.

Participants in this roundtable discussed data and legal analytics, law firms and new technology, client service, and the current hot topic in every industry: AI and ChatGPT.

In this roundtable, Andrew Try was accompanied by:

  • Ivan Packer, Consultant, Agilico
  • Rob Lawson, Strategic Sales Manager, Perfect Portal
  • Graham Moore, Founder & Managing Director, Katchr
  • Andy Lewis, Head of New Business, CTS

How is data disrupting the Legal Industry?

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Ask Andrew: The forecast for 2023

  • Agile Working
  • Business Continuity
  • Company Culture
  • Productivity
  • The Office
Ask Andrew: The forecast for 2023

As we settle back into the office, we asked CEO Andrew Try to reflect on 2022 and talk us through predictions for the year ahead.

2022 can be best described as a discombobulation. So much of what we all considered normal was already out of kilter, and whilst this time last year I expected it to be a year of returning to norms, I think few predicted the rollercoaster of influences that affected work, personal, national and international sentiment.

As a business owner and manager, trying to forecast and predict in normal circumstances is hard and through 2022 it was harder still. However, sticking to key strategic anchors of creative, energetic people with a passion for being the best, challenging the status quo and building a better future' served us well at ComXo.

Here are my top 3 headwinds that we navigated as a business last year:

  1. Staff wellbeing

With a workforce that is fully hybrid, the business focus was to support the physical and mental health of our entire team, including those we could no longer see. ComXo is a boutique specialist delivering high service levels and market leading innovation, and for this a strong culture is required. Investment went into flexible shift patterns, "come into the office" events, wellbeing packages, parties , training and development, video team culture, resident mental health practitioners, and my weekly CEO video check in.

  • Change in workforce and workplace utilisation for clients.

As a workplace service partner to some of the largest professional service firms in the world, 2022 was uniquely challenging. The WFH (Work from Home) to WFO (Work from Office) ratio was difficult to forecast as "new normal" working practices evolved rapidly throughout the year. The spring saw the rebound from Covid and lockdown and war in Ukraine. The summer had the extra Jubilee bank holiday and 40C temperatures. In Autumn we mourned the death of the Queen, whilst numerous prime ministers came and went. Finally, Christmas was marred by strikes. How could we forecast this, and what normal would look like?

  • Inflationary forces, cost of living and the focus on value delivery.

Retaining and incentivising our dedicated and experienced teams has been essential. Searching for more value for customers as prices had to go up was, and remains, our focus. We have been helped by a tight labour market making customers look to outsource as an answer to their own staff troubles, but most importantly it's our continued effort to make ComXo a great place to work. We delivered 9 new team induction groups last year compared to an average of 5 per year, and our staff turnover is around 10% less than industry average which I'm very proud of.

This year what are my predictions?

It is impossible to second guess the macro except to say that complexity, global shock, fast moving trends and fluidity will continue to dominate. The companies that have the most flexible structures and elastic outlooks will benefit; those trying to hang on to the past will not. As the saying goes "When the big waves rain down upon you, the person who's smiling is the surfer!".

From the ComXo standpoint, creating flexible workplace and workforce environments is about the ability to "Centralise, Optimise and Virtualise". Central, virtualised services sitting on digital platforms, enabling AI and delivering data driven insight saves lots of money, increases workforce productivity and transforms client experience. As a business that thrives on managing complex challenges and streamlining them for a great result, we will continue to facilitate our customers on this journey, whatever 2023 and beyond throws at us.

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Ask Andrew: Investing in innovation during uncertain times

  • Agile Working
  • Client Experience
  • Company Culture
  • Productivity
  • Solution
  • The Office
Ask Andrew: Investing in innovation during uncertain times

Andrew Try, Managing Director of ComXo talks about how technology can help through uncertain times.

What is the future of the workplace over the next 5 years? When so much big change is happening in the world and influences such as environment, war, economy and COVID, this is a difficult question to predict. However, there are certain companies who are pioneering people, process and technology that are sign posting where the market is heading.

Technology is an obvious enabler, however poor adoption or platforms that do not achieve traction cause huge friction in organisations and user frustrations cause productivity to drop with time and money wasted.

At ComXo a combination of software platforms, re-engineered processes and the expertise of virtual teams are combined to provide personalized business support services 24 hours a day which support technology adoption and drives productivity and return on investment.

The ComXo mantra of "centralise, optimise and virtualise" your business support services cuts costs typically by 30% and transforms client experience which drives revenue and profitability.

At the heart of these virtualised services, used by 9 of the top 20 law firms and the likes of PWC is the ComXo Gateway.

The Gateway is an client branded app available from the app store that gives a workforce access to client specific services, information and workflows available as a combination of self-serve and as a managed service.

The outcome is that any member of staff at any time can access their organisation business support services to reserve a resource, register a request, use a service or find out information. The apps are branded, personalised and self-serve, however in the event that the user cannot get something done instant access to an expert (who knows who the user is and where they are) can pick up the request and complete it for the user.

This "Self-serve" as a managed service drives 100% outcomes and enables large complex business to deliver an on-demand culture that enhances workforce satisfaction.

The reporting that accompanies the functions allow super users access to dash-boards that return real time information on services such as space utilisation, ground transport use, help desk tickets and new business enquiries through switchboard.

The Business Services App is able to changed and adapted in real time such that new work flows or reaction to a crisis or event can be delivered into the user interface instantly making it perfect for business continuity or highly bespoke set piece occasions.

ComXo integrate into 3rd party software and API to enable easy outsourcing and virtualisation of existing services such as IT and Facilities Help Desk, Meeting Room booking, desk management, ground transport, concierge service, switchboard and business continuity management.

ComXo's Business Services Mobile App is a client branded "Super App" that combines Software as a Service capability with an on-demand "Expert Layer" that enables any user to get things done without fuss or friction.

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Are legal chat bots ready to chat?

  • Agile Working
  • Business Continuity
  • Client Experience
  • Company Culture
  • Productivity
  • The Office
  • Virtual Meetings
Are legal chat bots ready to chat?

With talk of "post-pandemic challenges" now feeling passé , and businesses re-focusing on the longer term future, legal firms are looking to build efficiencies into sustainable hybrid work processes, and ways to further enhance and develop their client experience for competitive advantage.

The use of "lawtech" including AI and chatbots has been hyped over recent years as the solution to all problems, with chatbots in particular seen as the "quick fix, easy to scale, friendly face of Artificial Intelligence".

Some predictions have estimated that more than 85% of customer interactions will NOT include a human being in the legal sector. But we ask the question:

"Are you ready to hand over your valued customers to a client experience which is totally hands-off?"

Are legal chatbots ready to chat e-book cover

Are you ready to hand over your valued customers to a client experience which is totally hands-off?

This insight, written by conversational intelligence expert Andrew Moorhouse, takes a look at balancing the risk of losing human interaction, alongside the reward of combining better tech and processes for a highly personalised managed service.

In this insight you'll find:

  • Insights from over 10,000 conversations across sectors
  • Analysis of call volumes and qualified leads for the legal sector
  • How to balance risk and reward when introducing AI technology
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Hybrid Working-Making it a success for your law firm

  • Agile Working
  • Business Continuity
  • Client Experience
  • Company Culture
  • Productivity
  • The Office
  • Virtual Meetings
Hybrid Working-Making it a success for your law firm

The change-averse legal sector has slowly been moving towards digitisation for years. However, since the global pandemic and the accompanying government-enforced lockdowns, the sector has been forced to review their working habits and embrace remote working.

As the world enters "the new normal", and Freedom Day in the UK seems a long way behind us, offices are reopening, and businesses are accommodating a blend of home and office working: the hybrid-working model.

Research has found that a large proportion of employees expect a level of "hybrid" working in the future - with just under half wanting to work from the office for 3 days or fewer each week. Additionally, results also found that over half of employees now believe the office to be unnecessary, with these numbers increasing since the first lockdown.

The legal sector needs to understand what's happening on the ground to ensure they are attracting new talent, providing a competitive working environment for staff, and proactively identifying concerns or issues amongst their employees - to provide the best experience to their teams.

Working in partnership with CBRE and CTS, we've provided a guide to help you do just that.

In this guide, we cover:

  • Why you should embrace hybrid working
  • The benefits of a hybrid working model
  • What employees want from hybrid working
  • What you should consider when developing your hybrid working strategy

Designing a successful hybrid working strategy: The best of both worlds

Complete your details below to download our free Hybrid Working e-book, with access to our ‘Finger on the pulse’ webinar on how to measure success.

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Prepare for the worst and deliver the best

  • Agile Working
  • Business Continuity
  • Company Culture
  • Outsourcing
  • Solution
Prepare for the worst and deliver the best

In March 2020 I returned to work from my honeymoon in Australia, well and truly still in holiday mode. Given the extent of Australian news coverage at the time I boarded my flight aware of little more than "There's a toilet roll shortage". I was fairly oblivious as to what faced me upon my return to the office.

Expecting this toilet roll emergency to blow over while I tortured everyone with holiday pictures, I was ushered into our boardroom and given a pandemic reality check. I was asked to prepare for our offices to close and get ready to support all of our clients as they faced the same challenge.

So how do you move over 1 million calls and 70 Virtual Switchboard staff to a remote working environment, and continue to achieve an industry leading service level, with 95% of calls answered in 3 rings? We were of course apprehensive, but we found that our business continuity planning had left us well prepared.

Without giving away the ComXo crown jewels, here's my 3 key recommendations to enable your organisation to prepare for the worst in order to consistently deliver the best:

 Plan and TEST your BCP measures constantly.

  • For the past 5 years, ComXo has had a unit of remote working operators logged in ready to support calls in the event there was a crisis with the office.
  • This team of operators had tested our tech, software and logistics ready for a wider scale rollout of remote working.
  • Our disaster recovery site is regularly tested on a scheduled and unscheduled basis.

Look after your people

  • Rather than increase operator workload, we introduced more team huddles, 1-2-1s, training time and regular "check ins" to ensure the team were coping with the pandemic. Parents were given some extra, much needed TLC.
  • The business took a VERY open stance to the uncertainty of the future and the roles we would all need to play in order to ensure that ComXo and our clients prospered during this period.
  • Educating our staff on "The grief curve" allowed teams to meet, discuss and share experiences.
  • The Zoom Christmas cocktail party and online bake off/pizza making competitions kept up team spirit. These were planned sensitively, especially once it became clear that the pandemic was going to loom for a substantial period of time, and we were conscious of Zoom fatigue.

In return, our indomitable staff responded in kind with sickness and absence levels dropping to next to zero!

Our service levels actually increased to 97.7% of calls answered within 3 rings and adverse feedback dropped to an all-time low.

Understand your true capacity

  • If the workload demand of your team regularly exceeds 80% of their maximum work rate, it's possible you are heading for burnout and staff churn. Look to schedule at least 30% capacity for breathing room, shrinkage, creativity and sudden spikes in workload.
  • Diversify your workforce: working with parents, students and full time professionals to align their wants and needs with your own workload forecast is a powerful thing.
  • Recruit ahead of the curve - if you wait until you need the staff, you are already too late.
  • If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Understand the scientific equation that predicts your working capacity. If you don't have the tech, you can do this by simply and consistently checking in with your team and asking "Hey, on a scale of 1 - 10 how busy have you been this month?"

Ultimately, we have been very lucky that our clientele have had a mostly prosperous two years and we are proud to have been able to support them on this journey. Looking back, what would I change about ComXo's approach to the pandemic? Not a lot. But on a personal note, maybe I would have invested in some more toilet roll when I landed back in England. They weren't joking about that part.

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Returning to a Hybrid Workplace

  • Agile Working
  • Productivity
  • The Office
  • Virtual Meetings
Returning to a Hybrid Workplace

As October rolls around, and the usual 'back to work' messages are coming through, we take a topical look at what it means to return to a hybrid workplace, in collaboration with dedicated HR specialists, Kane HR.

From July 19 the UK government announced the move to step four of the roadmap which included the removal of most COVID-19 restrictions across England. Later, in early August Scotland and Wales also followed suit. Whilst the changes meant that workers are no longer required to work from home, government guidance recommends that employers follow a gradual return to the workplace over the coming months. This approach allows for the variant infection rates to continue to decline and appropriate plans and measures to be put in place by employers in readiness for return.

Employer obligations

Employers have a statutory duty to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their staff. This duty of care places a legal obligation on employers to plan any return carefully, consider their individual environment, conduct risk assessments, and implement context specific risk mitigation plans as appropriate; in short, employee safety and wellbeing must be a priority. Employers should take extra care of those with any potential protected characteristics and discuss with workers most at risk any reasonable adjustments that can be made to the workplace or working arrangements so they can work safely.

Whilst there is no mandatory government expectation on the specific measures that employers should take, the government has published guidance specific to each industry. The guidance includes certain measures that employers could consider, including;

  • Minimising unnecessary visitors
  • Ensuring social distancing
  • Frequent cleaning
  • Extra hand washing facilities
  • One-way systems to minimise contact
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face)
  • Staggering start/end times
  • Requiring a facial covering to be worn in enclosed space

Employee obligations

A small number of requirements remain in force for employees and must be observed by employers also. Anyone testing positive for coronavirus must self-isolate and should not attend their place of work. Anyone in close contact with someone who tests positive must also self-isolate although, from 16 August, under-18s and those who have received a second COVID vaccination at least 10 days before the contact no longer need to isolate and may continue to attend work as normal.

Employers should note that employees who have been employed for 26 weeks or longer have the right to request more flexible working arrangements, which could include working from home, but they are under no obligation to agree to such requests, particularly where cost, quality or performance may be adversely impacted.

All employees have an obligation to obey lawful and reasonable instructions given by their employer, which includes instructions relating to a return to work. However, employees may refuse to attend the workplace if they reasonably believe that it poses a danger to them, and, if so, they have certain protections under employment legislation. The protections also apply if an employee takes appropriate steps to protect themselves or others from danger.

Having a "reasonable belief" varies from case to case, depending on the facts. There have been a few Employment Tribunal judgements in cases regarding employees' concerns about COVID-19 which have shown that employees have faced little difficulty in establishing that they have a reasonable belief of significant or imminent danger. However, provided an employer is following the Government's working safely guidance, indications show that a "general" fear of COVID-19 may not be considered reasonable and an employee would have to demonstrate on what grounds they believe the workplace to be unsafe.

The future - a new hybrid model?

Looking ahead beyond the pandemic and current period of limited restrictions, the government is clear that re-opening businesses is essential for a healthy economy. Taking people back from furlough reduces the financial burden on the country and allows them to continue a normal working life. Studies by the University of Cambridge demonstrate how working can have a positive impact on mental health as well as the financial benefit. Encouraging people to return to the office may also be helpful in reinvigorating city centres where businesses have been adversely impacted by the absence of office workers whilst restrictions were imposed.

With that said however, companies and their employees have a clear opportunity for change, creating a new normal rather than reverting to "as was". Having experienced a fundamental shift in ways of working over the last 18 months, people have found new ways to be successful, maintaining productivity and sustaining operations. As a result, expectations around work have changed for both employers and employees. Employees' thinking related to how they fulfil their role and how they balance work and domestic responsibilities may have changed dramatically. For employers, there are new opportunities relating to how and from where they can source talent for their business too.

This is an ideal time for employers to think more creatively about effective ways of working, and harness more agile and flexible working practices to meet individuals' changing expectations and business needs.

The data

New research from the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management has found that a large proportion of employees will expect a level of "hybrid" working in the future - with just under half (44%) of the workforce wanting to work from the office for 3 days or fewer each week. Additionally, results also found that 63% of employees now believe the office to be unnecessary - this was a rise of one-fifth since the first lockdown (51%).

The poll, which surveyed 2,000 office workers across the country in March 2021, shows that demand for hybrid working is especially prevalent in the younger demographic. Two-thirds (66%) of 18-24-year-olds confessed that not being offered flexible work patterns would cause them to look for another job. Yet disturbingly, over a third (38%) of this demographic feel their employer is putting pressure on them to return to the office - risking losing new talent.

Benefits of remote or hybrid working

There are many benefits to well thought out, agreed, and communicated hybrid ways of working. The research appears to indicate that job satisfaction may be one of the key benefits. Allowing better work life balance and increased flexibility is an attractive value proposition for most employees which could lead to reduced attrition benefiting both company, reduced cost to hire, and enhanced career prospects. Happy employees are far more likely to focus on getting the job done, which in turn will lead to better productivity benefits.

Research during lockdown periods has also shown that typically employees worked at least as many hours if not longer whilst working from home, using what was once commuting time more productively. This has brought about a concerning blur between the boundaries of work and home life. Taking this into account, it's important that in planning for a hybrid working model, the benefits that come from greater flexibility are not eroded via "work creep" and encroachment into personal lives. A successful model will therefore be partly dependant on employers and employees agreeing on reasonable expectations for availability, contact times and meetings; one way to address this is in laying out a remote or hybrid working policy, which we look at in more detail later in this article.

Another benefit associated with hybrid ways of working include the reintroduction of social interaction. Whilst lone working allows for greater focus time on specific tasks, both individuals and teams will have missed the real social dimension. Seeing real bodies from which to gauge body language, perceive what has and hasn't been said, the development of natural learning opportunities and a sense of belonging that grabs people's hearts as well as minds is important, not least because it will enhance retention. From a productivity point of view also, the "osmosis" effect of employees learning by being with and around others has enormous value for productivity and employee sense of satisfaction; this is equally applicable to new starters or those needing more support in their role.

This sense of productivity from being together can greatly enhance the work of those in creative functions. Brainstorming or "co-creation" can be an incredibly powerful way of fast tracking to new ideas but works best together where employees can create a buzz and bounce off each other. This notion of being together may also be applicable in highly detailed, time pressured environments, perhaps an investor presentation with multiple iterations, a budget presentation or a business-critical deal that needs to be delivered at pace.

Finally, the benefit of social and casual interactions like a chance meeting in the hallway or bathroom, should not be underestimated in building networks. It's well documented that networking can underpin a greater sense of "can do" in organisations, knowing someone who can, but also helps in career pathing. This is particularly relevant in retaining key talent, giving them a sense of visibility, that what they are doing is being noticed and will help them get the next job. It's also useful for line managers to become familiar with employee talent making it easier to fill new roles as they become open.

Woman home working on her laptop


Each of the above ideas points us to a sense of purpose.

Why do we need to be together? Where do we do our best work? What factors will support our productivity and ultimate success both for the business and the employee?

It's this sense of purpose that should help shape an employers' thinking around planning for a return to work or hybrid working.

Taking the most simplistic view, for employees to work efficiently and be productive from home, they will need access to the right equipment and tools to deliver the requirements of their job role. This ranges from basic desk, chair, lighting requirements through to computer equipment, internet access, headphones, and software tooling to facilitate collaboration or another role-specific functionality. Stating the obvious, employees should be provided with training on how to use the tools required for remote working and have access to a helpline for when (inevitably) something goes wrong. They will never feel more isolated and remote than when stranded at home unable to "connect".

Whilst it's easy to imagine that employees should have all that they need after such a long period of being away from their regular place of work, it's likely that many will have "made do" and to continue working from home on a more regular formal basis may need additional support. Employers need to consider how that support should be provisioned and what is appropriate. As they do this, it's important to remember that they have an obligation to safeguard the health and wellbeing of employees and will be responsible for ensuring that whatever provision is made, the working from home environment is assessed and found to be compliant with health and safety legislation.

Continuing to consider purpose, the way employees use an office in the future may suggest employers need to reconfigure office space. Whereas row upon row of desk space with a small contingent of meeting rooms may have been appropriate in the past, perhaps more open collaboration space will be required. If employees manage focused work from home and come to the office for broader project collaboration, team meetings and updates or social events, traditional space may not be fit for purpose and need to be reconfigured. Potentially the space requirement may also be smaller allowing companies to reduce their property footprint, making savings whilst facilitating improved productivity. With this change in footprint and potentially less desks than total employees, employers may need to consider an easy access booking system to manage available space.


With so much change it's essential that business leaders act as role models for new ways of working. A leadership team that is in the office 5 days a week every week may set an unspoken or perceived expectation that to succeed, employees must be visible in the office every day. Being vocal about how often and why they come to the office will help leadership give "permission" to or enable employees to feel comfortable about their own choices on when to work remotely versus in the office.

Crucial also is a clear articulation of expectations from management on what they expect from employees working remotely. This can be facilitated with a well written remote or hybrid working policy which should aim to address the following topics:

  • Suitable locations for remote working
    • Working abroad for prolonged time periods may expose the company to unintended tax liabilities
    • Employers and employees should consider the appropriateness of a given setting, particularly regarding sensitive material. As an example, internet cafes or pubs may not be appropriate locations
    • Protection of IP is also important if employees are going to access material on personal equipment or print documents outside of the office environment.
  • Expectations regarding working hours
    • Is a traditional 9-5 timeframe still expected or are there flexibility parameters within which an employee may choose to work to get the job done?
  • Outline for regular contact
    • What may an employee expect from their manager?
    • What is required of an employee?
    • Are there timeframes within which it's acceptable, and conversely others where it is unacceptable, to expect this contact to occur?
  • Performance management
    • How will this be managed, how frequently and by whom?
    • What happens if there are issues?
    • Career planning and support
  • Support for home working
    • Who manages provision of required equipment?
    • Who funds home working expenses? E.g., internet, increased utility bills, insurance obligations, travel to and from office if this is no longer an employee's default location
  • What to do when things go wrong
    • IT support and how to access?
    • Who to contact if an employee experiences any issue with functional work, other team members or managers.
    • Mental health support for those feeling remote, isolated
  • Any changes or amendments to contractual terms, benefits, or incentives

Note the above is not exhaustive.


In addition to the above, managers need to consider that not everyone's model of hybrid will be the same. It's possible that not all employees will be in the office together and so consideration must be given to how to manage a team that is partially remote and partially in the office. It's important that all employees feel that they are treated equally and justly regardless of location. Simple practicalities relating to this would include taking care in managing team meetings, with attendance split between face to face and remote participation. Things to be conscious of are as follows;

  1. Everyone should be clear about purpose of the meeting, whether that be decision making, a chance to catch up, information sharing etc, and check it's suited to a hybrid working approach. If so, it's important to communicate the intended outcome to the team so everyone has a chance to prepare.
  2. Try to ensure each attendee has a consistent experience by actively taking steps to involve participants working from home - don't default to those in the room with you. This could be done by addressing everyone by name and giving everyone a chance to contribute. Chat and hand-raising functions can be useful in doing this.
  3. The need to refresh or provide training in meeting facilitation for each type of meeting.
  4. Encourage teams to establish their own rules and way to conduct hybrid meetings. For example: choosing a primary platform to use, ensuring everyone knows how to use it, and deciding on ways to ensure communication is inclusive of all.
  5. Make use of tools such as the Microsoft Teams chat function to allow teams to communicate from different locations without having to be in a meeting.
  6. Avoid the use of equipment in the room that team members who are working from home cannot properly see - present slides via the chosen technology will be more inclusive and easier for remote members to engage with.
  7. Save in-person conversations for another time, rather than just before remote participants have joined, or after they have left.


In conclusion, it's safe to say that the trend towards hybrid working is an evolving situation, one which all employers should be mindful of when considering future plans. Whilst there is no single right or wrong answer, employees will have an opinion on what works for them and the employers likely to be most successful in navigating this challenge will be those that consult and communicate with their workforce to understand exactly what is going to work for everyone.

Holding purposeful consultations will help to steer formulating solutions as will being mindful that the right answer is likely to be a framework which will evolve over time rather than a rigid one size fits all answer. Most importantly, as always, clear communication of any agreement and expectations between both employer and employee is critical.

If any of this resonates and you'd like to discuss your hybrid workplace strategy and how we can support you, get in touch here.

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The "Hybrid working" model

  • Agile Working
  • Business Continuity
  • Productivity
  • The Office
  • Virtual Meetings

The new phrase I am hearing from COO's in Law Firms is 'Hybrid Working'.

Firms are now forecasting and modeling how offices will be used post crisis. Recent research of office workers across 10 countries had 72% say that they wanted to remain home working for 2 days a week post Covid and those spending 3-4 days at home were 15% more satisfied with their job than those who went into work every day.

This Hybrid of workplace and homework will throw up some interesting challenges: for instance, how to manage desk allocation and the forecast increase in meeting room space that will be required to enable the continuation of the Zoom/Teams driven productivity we have all experienced.

Over the past 6 months our R&D teams have been working on a number of pilots and workforce roll outs which signpost what I believe will become the norm.

Here are a few insights:

  • Employees will want to match their environment to the work that needs to be achieved.

For instance super quiet space for important "set piece" chunks of work. That may be your home but equally if you have a house full of toddlers or it's during the school holidays then the office will be preferable.

  • Maximizing the space you have by making it easy for people to book.

A Desk booking project we are working on managing 3000 desks and 500 meeting rooms has demonstrated the advantages of a 24 hour "Maitre D" function sitting above the automated self-serve technology that enables quick cancellation, complex multi bookings, integration into desk delivered catering and instant access to key business services. This "restauranting" of space has smoothed over the rigidity of the technologies employed and maximized the usability of a smaller space for their more agile workforce.

  • Seeing the office as a place to meet, socialise and create not just a place where you have to turn up every day to do your work.

A number of our clients have used the Pandemic to radically re-function their existing workspace creating zones that foster creativity, community and wellbeing.

The booking and management of these new areas are where we have been investing in the technologies, people and processes that drive their efficient use.

The office is not dead, in fact, some of our customers are committing to more space not less. With the prospect of life retuning to more recognizable norms I see more creative, flexible and enjoyable use of the office.

Let's face it, the minute we don't have to go there any more we will certainly want to go there more often.

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Agile working into Practice

  • Agile Working
Agile working into Practice

Agile working into practice

As agile working is based on being responsive to the needs of each organisation, it's by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. Before diving into implementing agile working, here are some best practice tips to consider.

1. Review your firm's culture

  • What are the dynamics within your current workforce?
  • How successfully does your business meet the needs of your employees?
  • Will you be able to attract millennial/ generation Y staff based on your current working practices?

In order for agile working to become an embedded aspect of your firm's culture, it needs to be integrated at every level and driven from the top. If fee-earners cling to an antiquated culture that prioritises "presenteeism" over productivity, junior lawyers are unlikely to take advantage of flexible working opportunities. It's therefore important to liaise with employees at every level, identify their needs and concerns, and work together to agree goals, as an HR Director explains - "You need to have the senior management team and the wider partnership bought into agile working, otherwise it won’t work. It's difficult if it's imposed from just a cost or flexibility perspective."

2. Consider your client requirements

  • Are you able to meet your clients' current needs?
  • How successfully can you anticipate and respond to changes in client requirements?
  • What's your understanding of your competitors and the evolving market?

As competition in the sector rises and technology develops, client expectations will also increase. Whether it's providing an out-of-hours service, multilingual support, or taking advantage of upcoming technology, law firms must understand their clients' evolving needs and respond accordingly. By continuing to use processes or systems that are out of date, firms may risk losing clients to competitors that work more flexibly. Communicating with staff, undertaking research, consulting with experts and reviewing successes stories of similar organisations will help your firm approach agile working in a considered, practical way.

3. Evaluate your operations

  • Do your process and technology hinder your performance?
  • Do you have the operational stability to enable the firm to develop?
  • What measures do you have in place to review and improve operational efficiency?

If workforces are to become more mobile, it's essential that they're given the right support and technology to enable them to focus solely on clients and not be hindered by logistical problems. They may also benefit from additional training to make sure they're using any new technology to its full capacity. Security is also an important consideration, as encouraging staff to access confidential information outside of the office will undeniably heighten your security risk.

One way to address these issues and minimise risk is to work with third party experts. You'll benefit from highly trained consultants with specialist knowledge in their field, without investing in costly recruitment and training. By learning from their experience, your firm can implement important changes more swiftly and confidently.

ComXo provides specialist business support to over 200+ professional service firms across the City of London and beyond. Their range of services includes multilingual 24/7 switchboard provision, audio conferencing facilities and business support services, including ground transport, disaster recovery support, lone worker support which are designed to enable law firms to deliver cost-effective, exceptional service. For more information about ComXo please visit

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Drivers behind agile working in the legal sector

  • Agile Working
  • Productivity
Drivers behind agile working in the legal sector

What are the drivers behind agile working in the legal sector

1. Enhanced service

Flexible working practices can enable law firms to work more responsively. By utilising contractors, seconding staff or offering job share and part-time opportunities, they can "ramp up" or "ramp down" according to their clients' needs. Encouraging staff to collaborate and work in new ways will also help them to become more creative and adaptable to the needs of the business.

Firms can also enhance their services by outsourcing specific business functions, such as IT, switchboard services and other administrative functions to third party specialists. This allows them to access expert knowledge and bespoke technology at a fraction of what it would cost to manage these resources internally. They can also re-focus the priorities of their in-house staff, and encourage them to undertake more complex, business-critical tasks. This not only helps to meet organisational objectives but can also boost staff motivation.

Employing experts on a flexible, ad-hoc basis through human cloud providers is also becoming a key aspect of agile working. By using platforms such as People per hour or Upwork, businesses can hire freelancers for one-off projects and access on-demand expertise at a competitive rate.

While taking advantages of these platforms themselves, law firms should consider how they too can provide instant, round the clock support to their clients. The popularity of sites such as Rocket Lawyer and Upcounsel suggests that there's a growing demand for instant access to legal expertise, and firms who provide a more flexible service may be more able to attract business and fend off competition.

Whether outsourcing to experts or investing internally, technology also has a key part to play in improving service. By using facilities such as video conferencing and instant messenger, firms can improve staff communication and increase their client focus.

It is worth bearing in mind however, that implementing new technology cannot, and should not, replace face-to-face communication entirely. In some situations, face-to-face contact will always be preferable, especially when it comes to areas such as staff management issues. In order to get the most from technology, it should be regarded as one of many useful tools that firms can take advantage of in order to work more successfully.

2. Improved productivity

By enabling staff to work from home, employees may find that they're able to work more productively. They will no longer spend "dead time" c"ommuting and can adjust their working hours to the times when they work best, and when their clients need support. Giving staff this freedom can also improve their morale and focus, which again helps them to deliver excellent service.

When it comes to productivity, technology comes into play once again. Whether replacing office-based meetings with video conferencing, or working on projects via file-sharing software, tech-savvy firms can operate faster, drive costs down and keep clients satisfied. Using an external business support service to arrange conference calls, meetings or book transport on their behalf can also give fee earners more time to focus on high-priority work.

3. Attracting talent (and keeping it)

The biggest asset to any law firm is its staff, meaning it's essential to hire the best employees. By giving staff the opportunity to work in more flexible ways, firms can attract wider talent and thereby improve their service. This will become increasingly important in the future; tomorrow's junior lawyers will be accustomed to using the latest technology and will expect the opportunity to work in a practical and innovative way.

Many organisations have also recognised agile working as a key tool in addressing the gender gap. By offering employees more flexible alternatives to a traditional nine-to-five role, they are able to attract and retain more working mothers and make their teams stronger and more diverse.

By giving staff the opportunity to work at a time and place of their choice, firms can help to address these issues. Providing technology that will help them carry out their role more efficiently will also improve their motivation, while enabling them to make a more valuable contribution to the business.

4. Cost savings

The cost of London office space has rocketed in recent years. According to property agents, City rates have soared, while research from Savills claims that businesses pay an average of £15,000 per workstation in rents, rates and service charges. Reducing unnecessary rental space and improving operational efficiency is therefore a key objective for many firms.

By giving staff the opportunity to work remotely, or by outsourcing certain functions to external experts, the demand for desk space is eased. This gives firms the ability to evaluate their office space, move away from the practice of providing a fixed desk for every employee and make significant savings through reduced property costs.

ComXo provides specialist business support to over 200+ professional service firms across the City of London and beyond. Their range of services includes multilingual 24/7 switchboard provision, audio conferencing facilities and business support services, including ground transport, disaster recovery support, lone worker support which are designed to enable law firms to deliver cost-effective, exceptional service. For more information about ComXo please visit

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