Fear can be a powerful force in your personal and professional life. This emotion generally arises when facing novel situations and wondering whether you will succeed in your endeavors.
Fear is a natural response to these uncertain circumstances, and the extra focus and adrenaline can help you overcome the challenge before you.
For some people, though, fear immobilizes, not energizes. This is true in both their personal life and their business ventures. When faced with the prospect of failure, these individuals may remain frozen in place, believing that the status quo is the safest place for them to be.
The same fear that influences your response to things like spiders, heights, and clowns can influence the way your law firm responds to new challenges like hiring remote workers.
But rather than being fearful and refusing to consider remote workers for your firm, you can let your nervousness lead you to embrace this new way of working and experience the many benefits that remote support workers can bring to your firm.
What Is There to Fear About Remote Workers?
The traditional workforce model is centered around employees who report in person to a physical workspace. This approach to staffing has some well-known disadvantages, such as:
- Employees with sick children can not work, resulting in lost productivity.
- Your time is spent monitoring other employees instead of managing and growing your business.
- Workday interruptions from employees with questions or employees who need coaching can reduce your effectiveness and output.
Despite these disadvantages, the in-person workforce model remains the “safe” choice because it requires you to place minimal trust in your employees.
You quickly know at the beginning of any workday which employees are present and which are absent. You are able to physically monitor your employees’ output throughout the workday, even though doing so takes time away from other tasks you could tackle.
Moving to a remote workforce requires you to place faith and trust in your workers. You have to trust that they will do their jobs and not lose productivity due to not knowing their tasks or being unable to communicate with their supervisors.
Meeting the Fear of Remote Workers Head On
Recent data from Gallup revealed that 34 percent of individuals surveyed preferred to work remotely from home. Furthermore, that same data concluded that work solely occurring at a physical location owned or leased by the employer would become a “relic of the past.”
In fact, only six percent of workers surveyed indicated they wanted to return to a fully on-site work environment.
With this data, remote work presents an opportunity for you to attract and retain a diverse group of talent that can enhance your firm’s operations. Consider using any fear or trepidation you may feel about such arrangements to implement strategies to manage these remote employees effectively. Some of these strategies might include:
Introduce Remote Workers to the Firm’s Team Members
When you do bring on a remote worker, make sure to introduce them to other members of your firm regardless of whether such members are working on-site, remotely, or in a hybrid environment.
Identify what these other employees do for the firm and how they can be reached so your remote worker feels empowered to reach out to the appropriate person with a question or situation.
Establish Clear Lines of Communication
From the outset, you should clarify to your remote workers your expectations for their communication with your office. Identify the methods you would like them to use, how often you would like them to check in with you, and with whom they should speak for various issues or concerns.
If you have different communication preferences depending on the situation’s urgency, make this clear to your remote employee. For example, specify if you want your remote employee to call you at the office with any urgent matter but to send you an email for anything that does not require an immediate response.
By clarifying these expectations from the outset and enforcing them throughout the remote working relationship, you can quickly identify workers who will not be a good fit for remote work based on their inability to follow your instructions.
And if your remote worker does follow your communication instructions, this provides you with an additional reason to trust them in other matters.
Make Them a Part of Your Firm’s Team
Building trust is crucial when you bring on a remote worker. You need to be able to trust this individual to do their job efficiently with minimal supervision, and they need to trust that you are investing in them. Treating them like any other team member can go a long way in building that feeling of security in your remote worker.
Treating a remote worker like your other on-site employees can also build familiarity and trust in you with your remote worker. It isn’t easy to trust someone you do not regularly see, so take advantage of opportunities to connect face-to-face, even virtually.
If you have regular staff meetings, invite your remote workers to participate via Zoom or Facetime. Encourage your remote workers to visit you on-site if they are ever in the area of your firm.
If your firm is relatively large or has the resources to do so, consider assisting your remote workers in visiting your firm’s physical office through a travel voucher or assistance.
Let Woven Legal Dispel Your Fears About Remote Employees
If you are curious about using a remote paralegal, bookkeeper, or other professional to supplement your firm’s options, Woven Legal would like to talk with you. Book a discovery call with us today and speak to us about our ability to connect you with the right remote worker for your firm’s needs.
Let us show you how our qualified remote professionals can add value to your firm through remote work.