“Campbell Teague was built to operate 100% remote from day one. We remain open without interruption.” If you’ve ever gotten an email from us, you may have noticed this with our signatures in 2020 when the world started shutting down. Now that the world is beginning to open back up and companies are heading back to the office, that may mean that the days of working remote are ending for some. But not at Campbell Teague, and hopefully not for you.
I’m not saying that there isn’t value in an office space and coworkers being in the same place at the same time. However, the days of entire teams working in one office space on a daily basis are on their way out. Just because you’re sitting at your desk doesn’t mean you’re working efficiently. Just because you’re at your kitchen table doesn’t mean that you’re slacking. To take it even further, just because you took the earlier flight to get out of town doesn’t mean that you can’t work collaboratively before your vacation really starts.
The keys to working remote and work/life balance are the importance of communication and technology when you and your team aren’t in the same building each day.
First and foremost, learn about each person’s lifestyle and preferences. Knowing about schedules, families, and life in general is so necessary to keep everyone on the same page. For example, when an attorney is closing on a new home on a Thursday, I know to organize all of my cases with them to knock out action items Monday-Wednesday. Or knowing that someone has their kids in daycare Mondays and Wednesdays means that I’ll prioritize work with them then, knowing they’ll have extra hands on deck for their kiddos!
Next, utilize technology. We use Slack, Trello, Dropbox Paper and more to work collaboratively from anywhere. Gone are the days that everyone takes separate notes from a call and sends them all around, wasting everyone’s time and doubling up on work. Open up a Dropbox Paper draft, tag everyone who needs access, and take notes together real-time. Assign tasks in Trello with direct links and due dates in an organized manner. There are so many tools that can ensure collaborative work can be done from anywhere without resulting in chaos.
Last, know your deadlines and priorities and plan accordingly. As a Project Manager, it’s my responsibility to evaluate each matter and know what needs to be done and by what time. If I can stay on top of this from the outset, then it shouldn’t matter where anyone is working from. Even further, plan accordingly not only for remote work, but for time out of office entirely. If there is a deadline on a Friday when you plan to be out on vacation, put in the work to handle that task before you go. If everyone takes responsibility for sticking to the plan and handling their end of the work, then we’re all able to enjoy time off without having to work from vacation. Nobody wants to work poolside.
Having the opportunity to work remote on a regular basis creates greater efficiency for our clients because our team is able to move forward on projects at all times, not just when specific people are sitting in the same room. And having true time off creates a team culture of healthy balance – producing great quality work while also creating space to live life. Thus, making us better attorneys and project managers when we get back. A work/life balance and the opportunity to work remote in a law firm, or any company for that matter, isn’t impossible, it simply takes some organization and communication. On that note, I’m practicing what I’m preaching and heading to Greece this summer, see you guys when I’m back!