Working remotely in 2020

Jul 14, 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

2020 has seen a seismic shift around the concept of working remotely.

Whereas working remotely was once the primary domain of the freelancer or contractor, recent months have seen the staff of entire organisations forced to decamp to their homes and work from such places as the kitchen table, a bedroom, the living room. Or a home office for the more fortunate.

Did the world stop turning? No, it did not. The business world slowed, and in some cases it stalled, but what the months of working remotely showed is that people don’t have to be in a traditional office setup in order to do their job. Of course, there are exceptions, but, in general, an unsupervised workforce did the best they could in difficult circumstances. In fact, according to a 2019 Airtasker study, remote workers increase their productivity.

Because of the New Zealand Government’s ‘Go hard, go early’ approach to the pandemic, this country’s lockdown has been relatively short compared with much of the world with people gradually returning to their offices since the middle of May.

Lucky to have a good spot to work from home

But does that mean a return to business as normal pre-pandemic? We don’t think so. Conversations around people wanting to continue to work from home or to have the opportunity to do so on a more regular basis are taking place. I’ve seen, as I’m sure many of you have, numerous LinkedIn surveys asking this very question.

Working remotely is no longer an ideological concept, it has become (that horrible new phrase) ‘the new normal’. And it is here to stay.

The new normal, however, comes with challenges. In our recent discussions with legal departments, we hear similar dilemmas crop up time and time again. “Our document management system (DMS) is on our local network drive which we can’t access remotely.” Or, “We can, but it’s so slow to connect to that we don’t bother for most things.”

Most of the teams we speak to have been driven to operating via their good old inbox. Does this sound familiar?

What we’re seeing with a lot of companies is that the inbox has effectively become the central storage system of all important comms and documents. With no central system in place, many legal teams have lost the ability to be fully collaborative and transparent in their dealings. In reality, they are working blind.

What I find fascinating is that most CEOs wouldn’t allow their sales teams to work this way. So why has it been normal practice for legal teams?

The issue of Cloud-based systems has been much debated by legal and IT teams and we are encouraged to learn that many companies have now made the leap. This initiative has increased the number of conversations and engagements we are having at LawVu, which this year includes the on-boarding of Government agencies, a sector traditionally reluctant to be convinced that the Cloud is the best and safest option.

This as a massive step forward for Cloud-based systems such as LawVu, the acknowledgement that we enable clients to confidently carry on their business whether in the office or from a remote location.

In the past, much of our discussions with legal focused on helping teams with their efficiency. Now, we’re also talking about providing them with vision, something they hadn’t realised they were lacking until they were suddenly forced to operate differently. By putting LawVu in place, we’re literally giving them back their sight or, you could say, giving them 2020 vision. (sorry I couldn’t help myself!)