Remote Working – The Pros & Cons & How To Do It

Changing ways of working is always hard. Inertia is the strongest force in nature. ‘We’ve always done it this way’. People fear change and so put it off.

I am naturally a shy person (my wife laughs at that comment, but it is true). However, I’ve learned in life to face my fears. They are normally less bad than I feared. Self-analysing, I can see the tendency to avoid change. So, I have taught myself to embrace change by looking at the opportunity. Weighing up the pros & cons and then getting on with it.

You can put the move to change into 3 categories:

  1. People who adopt change because they pro-actively look for opportunities and embrace change
  2. Being forced to change through regulatory pressure (usually more planned but some coercion)
  3. Distress Purchase – you can put current moves caused by the coronavirus into this camp

Remote working: the technology is there but the thinking can lag behind.

Cons Pros

Loss of cohesiveness

Will my staff skive off

They need to access the server to work

All the computers are in the office

How will they print

How will we manage the staff

How will we have staff meetings

Who will man the phones?

More resilient

Treats staff with trust

Cuts overheads

More profitable

More flexible

Higher productivity – in my experience

More efficient


You will note that a lot of the Cons are actually barriers to ‘How to do it’ rather than objections in principle.

In a ‘Distress Purchase’ situation, you need to work through these issues quickly with a plan. I encouraged remote working when I took over running my department of 60 litigators. It aligned them better with the hours our clients wanted to contact them. It allowed my staff the ability to save commute time. It produced higher productivity. We weren’t on the cloud but used citrix as a virtual platform. I could always manage them by the reports and phone calls. I would now have better technology available to manage them.

How to do it?

  • Decide on policies of how people should work
  • Look at the barriers and how to address them - other firms have managed
  • Seek advice to speed your progress
  • Explain the strategy and plans to your staff so there is good understanding
  • Seek their ideas – they may have some good suggestions, if handled well it will increase their engagement
  • Decide how you will measure performance – reports etc (and tell your staff!)
  • Decide how you will maintain cohesiveness (conference calls etc)
  • Decide how you will manage phones & post
  • Do you need to print?

Some Practical suggestions

  • If you are cloud based it will really help you
  • If you are server based then you can use platforms such as citrix to host your server and for you to remote in. Good IT support can be essential here. If you do not have this we can recommend in some of our trusted partners.
  • Phones – again there are ways of managing this remotely. See the point above re IT assistance
  • Conference calling – we have come across a good free conference calling software that we use. This could be used for morning firm meetings, for example.
  • Computers can be moved and set up at home, if needs be. Laptops are no problem to move.
  • Scanning – you can take a picture on your phone and then email it and save the attachment.
  • Delegate someone to go into the office once a day and pick up any post & scan it to the appropriate people.

Feel free to contact us to help you work through these and other issues.

Looking forward

I was recently visiting a village near where I live. Increasingly villages where there is good internet are finding buildings are being turned into small office units. It struck me that a revolution is quietly going on: small office-based businesses are moving back into the rural villages as people are freed from the need to set up in a town or city. Why not have a nice environment where you work and less of a commute? Then that encourages other businesses that support them – the café in the village etc. It’s certainly something I will be raising when advising someone thinking of setting up a new law firm.

If you are struggling with the move to remote working for your business, or just want to talk through the strategy then feel free to contact us.

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