Telecommuting is a viable – and often attractive – option for professionals in myriad industries, including lawyers. The benefits for law firms can be numerous, including reducing overhead for smaller firms and attracting top recruits looking for flexibility in larger firms. Lawyers who are able to telecommute some of the time, most of the time or even all of the time, have cited multiple benefits to working from home. Some of these include the ability to work when they are at their most productive (early in the morning or very late at night), the opportunity for quiet time needed to think about particularly challenging case issues or preparing for trial, time saved on commutes (which allows for more work to get done), greater levels of autonomy (which helps with attaining work/life balance) and more.
If your law firm offers the option to work remotely, here are seven tips to ensure you’re as productive as possible while out of the office.
As an attorney, depending upon your practice area, spur of the moment or emergency meetings are par for the course. Do yourself a favor and wake up, shower and get ready as if you’re going into the office. This way, you won’t be caught in sweatpants when a client needs to see you ASAP or you need to Skype into a teleconference.
One of the most difficult things about working from home is the desire to multitask, particularly for lawyers who never seem to have enough time in the day. It’s tempting to get some of those household chores done while taking care of more administrative tasks, but in order to be fully productive, you need to focus on one thing at a time. Studies show that high-level multitasking is neurologically impossible; it’s like physically being in two places at once. Dedicating yourself to a full, uninterrupted work day will help keep you on track. Think of working remotely the same as being in the office – you wouldn’t drop everything to do a load of laundry, so why should you at home?
Continuing the theme of productivity, one of the most common questions asked of people who work from home is, “How do you stay focused?” The answer lies in sticking to a schedule. Wake up at the same time as you do when you go to the office. Begin your work day at the same time (or earlier, if you want to really increase productivity). To ensure maximum efficiency, don’t allow yourself to stray from your planned schedule.
Working remotely can start to feel isolating if you’re not making a point to get out and see colleagues. Allocate time for lunches, networking events or industry association seminars to maintain “face time” with others.
Marketing and business development efforts also shouldn’t go by the wayside. No business development means no new clients, and no new clients means no new business.
And don’t forget the basics:
Working remotely shouldn’t equate to working from the couch with your laptop – set up a clearly defined workspace. This doesn’t have to be an opulent office, but it needs to be separate from the other living spaces in your home. You’ll be more productive in a space that’s designated solely for work.
Just like in your regular office, you need to have the right equipment — a comfortable work chair, desk and basic office supplies so that you’re not scrambling when you run out of printer ink and need to print a large document. And of course, reliable internet access is critical.
Before working from home, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed every program you rely on in the office on your home computer. This can save you countless hours of stress, delays and inconvenience by ensuring programs are set up properly ahead of time. Too, presuming you’ll be using a project management application or document sharing system, make sure you understand how to use everything so you’re not left trying to figure it out at home.
Working from home can be an immensely rewarding and productive experience for a lawyer if you’re prepared for it and continue to manage your time well.
Almost 60 percent of smartphone users say they won’t recommend a business to a friend if it has a poorly designed mobile site. Yet bad mobile websites abound, in all their cluttered, wordy and difficult-to-navigate glory. This is a particular problem for lawyers, who tend to pack a lot of information on their websites.
There’s no doubt about it: having a bad mobile website has a negative effect on your business. The good news is that the inverse is true, too, and making a few small changes can improve your site immensely. Can you spot and fix any of these common mistakes on your mobile site?
Making navigation too complicated
On a tiny screen, the options need to be short, simple and to the point. There just isn’t enough room for submenus or breadcrumbs – the secondary navigation that helps users figure out where they are on your site – on a mobile device. Your mobile site should lead visitors exactly where they want to go – and where you want them to go – and nowhere else. Remove any unnecessary navigation to make the interface cleaner.
Requiring visitors to fill out long forms
Very few visitors have the patience to type out long responses using a tiny touch keyboard. If you’re trying to gather information from potential clients (perhaps on your contact page), ask them only for the bare minimum. Most people won’t balk at typing in their email address. But asking for a summary of their case or a mailing address (especially when your first contact will probably be via phone or email)? Forget about it. It’s just another barrier preventing them from contacting you.
Including too big or too many images
Big, high-resolution images are the norm on desktop sites, but on mobile they’re more of a hindrance than a nice design element. Adding too many images will slow down the page load time, which is a huge annoyance for mobile users Googling on the go. Plus, on a phone screen, images are so small that many of the details get lost anyway. Save large images for your desktop site.
Burying important information
Most people researching your firm on their phones want the basics: firm location, firm hours, firm contact information and a bit about what the firm does. Put that critical information front and center. You shouldn’t include everything from your desktop site in your mobile version – any nonessential information only serves to make your mobile site more difficult to navigate and draws attention away from the need-to-know information most people are looking for. If visitors really want to know it all, you can always give them the option to navigate to your full site on their phone.
Using long headers and blocks of text
On a mobile device, you’re working with way less space. Long headings and subheads will get cut off on a two-inch screen. “The Story of McDermott & Goldstein, LLP: Where We Began” may look great on your desktop site, but on mobile, just stick to something like “About Us.” Similarly, paragraphs that are only a few sentences long on a desktop site are much longer on mobile screens, forcing users to scroll on forever. Significantly shorten any blocks of texts and simplify your copy.
27 million pieces of content are shared every day. That’s a huge number, and it seems like every topic imaginable has been covered from every angle imaginable. If you want to make an impact in such a crowded space, it’s not enough to post something on your website and hope it will get seen. You have to be proactive and make people see it through content amplification.
Essentially, content amplification is using a variety of tactics to get more people to look at, download and share your content – whether it’s a blog post, infographic, white paper or study. Amplification is essential if your marketing strategy relies heavily on content marketing, but it’s not always easy. To ramp up your amplification game, here are six tips and techniques:
Instagram has been steadily gaining popularity over the years, as its ease of use has made it “the” social media platform of choice. Instagram boasts over 700 million active users, twice that of Twitter. Instagram’s latest feature, Instagram Stories, reached 200 million active users in April 2017, eclipsing the 161 million Snapchat users.
What does this mean in terms of your law firm marketing? Having a social media presence is almost a requirement for consumer-focused firms. Being active on social media builds credibility for your business, and in the age of millennials, is a determining factor when deciding which businesses to patronize. Instagram can also be a beneficial recruiting tool, as well as a way to share company culture.
Instagram may be the easiest, most user-friendly social media platform, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be an overnight sensation as soon as you create your profile. Through persistence, diligence and these 7 tips, you’ll be raking in likes and followers and potentially converting them to clients.
A few popular hashtags that are sure to increase your followers:
#TBT (Throwback Thursday): 385,353,112 posts.
#instalike: 237,542,435 posts.
#FF (Follow Friday): 23,690,154 posts.
#instafollow: 80,495,076 posts.
#love: 1,147,239,740 posts.