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 By continuing to use processes or systems that are out of date, firms may risk losing clients to competitors that work more flexibly.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 www.comxo.com