Prepare now to work remotely.

Are you worried about the Corona Virus (COVID-19) and the possibility of quarantine? Or the need to work from/self-quarantine at home? Here are some answers and tips.

Work from home or work remotely.

Can you work from home? Do you use cloud-based practice management software? If so, you are already equipped to work remotely. If you have a laptop, and a good VPN, and a robust internet connection, you are good to go.

If you are not housing your files in the cloud, but locally on a server, now is the time to have a chat with your IT consultant/professional about setting you up to be able to work remotely. Need a consultant? We can suggest a few we are familiar with, but there are plenty. Make sure, though, they are used to working with lawyers so they understand the kind of confidentiality you will need to maintain.

Can your staff/contractors work remotely? Again, this is partly dependent on whether your office systems are cloud-based. If you are, then you should take some time to decide what functions may be performed remotely. Connecting via phone, or video conferencing (many services offer free, albeit limited, services) is now easier than ever. Check out services like Zoom, which offers a free version. If this is something you might want to consider going forward, you’ll want to opt for the paid version. Zoom isn’t the only service, check out GoToMeeting, or join.me, or any of the other myriad of video-conferencing services and products on the market.

Now that many (most?) Arizona courts offer e-filing, it is no longer necessary to go to the courthouse to file pleadings. If you have been relying on your staff to e-file for you, now is the time to review those procedures so you can do it yourself.

Are you ready to work from home? Do you have the discipline and set-up to do so?

Not everyone is a good teleworker. If you are easily distracted, you may need to implement some good (strict) time management processes. If you don’t have a dedicated place in which to work at home, now is the time to start thinking about working from there on a more regular basis. The kitchen table in a family home is not a remote office. You’ll need to preserve your client confidences and make sure your files, paper or electronic are secure. It may take a little planning, but now is the time to do it.

Do you have good contact information for all of your clients?

If you are used to a bricks and mortar office, this may take a little planning. Review your files and make sure you have a good email address for your clients, as well as a phone number, and perhaps some alternate back-up contact information on them. If they can’t come to your office to see you, you’ll need to be able to contact them.

Want to discuss other essentials for you to practice from home, or work remotely? Practice 2.0 is here for you. We have a guide to virtual practice on the website http://www.azbar.org/practice20, or call us at 602-340-7332, for quick questions or to schedule a 30-minute consultation about this or any other practice management issue. Follow us on Twitter @AZPractice2_0.

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