Normally when I sit down to write a blog post to our Headnote community, I’m focused on ways to give your law firm productivity tips or ideas for how to use Headnote to make your firm operate more profitably and efficiently. But not today.
Today I am writing to you with one thing in mind and for only one reason – to give you peace of mind in an otherwise uncertain and confusing time. I want to assure all of our valued customers and partners that Headnote is taking COVID-19 very seriously and that we will continue to operate business as usual despite the current crisis. We care deeply for our community and the law firms we service, and we want to do whatever we can to support you in this unprecedented time. I have faith that we will all weather this storm and be better on the other side.
With that in mind, read on for an update on Headnote’s operations in light of the COVID-19 situation and some ideas to help you and your firm make the successful (and hopefully temporary) transition from office life to an efficient, remote team working for home.
Headnote: Business As Usual
As many of you know, Headnote is headquartered in San Francisco, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley. Our area has been greatly affected by COVID-19, but our technology has not. As we watched the situation unfold quickly on the West Coast, we had two main concerns: the safety of our team members and the integrity of our platform.
Headnote is a cloud-based, serverless platform that does not rely on any internal hardware or equipment. Prior to COVID-19, all Headnote employees and team members had the equipment necessary to perform their full job duties and functions from home. As such, our entire workforce made the easy transition to completely work from home over a week ago.
Since then it really has been ‘business as usual’ at Headnote. We have not experienced any outages or service interruptions since the COVID-19 crisis began and we do not anticipate any in the future. Similarly, you should not expect any delays or longer than normal response times from our customer support or sales team members. As always, we are committed to helping you maintain the financial health of your firm and assisting you with any questions or concerns as quickly as possible. This has not and will not change.
As we move forward together in this new, unprecedented era you can rest assured that we have taken the appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the continued operations of the Headnote platform. As always, you can count on us and our services.
Your Firm: Business As Usual?
As an attorney myself, I know it may not be as easy for your firm to move to a remote, distributed team as it was for the Headnote team. However, it is possible for firms to operate as efficiently when working remotely as it is to work side-by-side in an office environment.
We’ve put together a list of some basic work from home (WFH) tips to help your firm make an easy transition, complete with free cloud-based software recommendations:
- Equip Your Team – Many states are requiring all residents to WFH unless going to an office is absolutely necessary to conduct an essential job function. If your state hasn’t done so already, now is the time to prepare. Make sure each of your team members has the equipment they’ll need to WFH including a laptop, headphones, monitors (if requested), and adequate internet. Make sure to order these supplies online from Amazon or Walmart to avoid going to a store. Free video chat tools like Zoom make it easy to transition face-to-face meetings to video and collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams can give your firm a new virtual water cooler. Take advantage of no or low cost cloud-based tools and order necessary equipment before store inventory is low.
- Set A Schedule – If you’re worried about productivity or communication while your firm is required to WFH, set up a regular cadence of video calls at the beginning and end of the day to check in with your team, answer any questions, and make sure everyone is working efficiently. You may even want to set up virtual coffee chats to conduct one-on-ones or a group video lunch. If you’re used to checking in with your colleagues periodically at the office, start doing so via video instead. It can help give you peace of mind that your team is making a smooth transition and help give your team guidance as they adjust to a new (hopefully temporary) normal.
- Require Contemporaneous Time Capture – Many firms only require attorneys to enter their billing monthly or weekly. Perhaps now is a good time to change your habits and start requiring your team to record their time daily or contemporaneously as work is performed. By doing so you can help make sure your firm is staying on top of billing goals and also reduce the potential for your team to lose valuable billed time. If you have non-billable team members and you’d like to make sure they’re staying productive as well, request that they start keeping a log of their non-billable activities (calls answered, meetings scheduled, etc.) so you can make sure everyone is moving in the right direction, together.
- Reach Out To Clients – Whether you’ve got something scheduled or not, now is likely a good time for your client to hear from you. It may be a good idea to send out individual or group emails letting clients know you’re available to answer questions or assure them that ongoing work will continue and deadlines will be met. Move all in person meetings to phone calls or better yet, video chats. Just make sure to send them the video software you’re using ahead of time so they can get set up before the call – Zoom is especially easy and free for them to download.
- Reach Out To Your Lawyer Community – Now is the time to stay connected. Reach out to your friends and colleagues in your network to check in. If you’re feeling like you have too much business and can’t keep up in light of changing priorities (like many of us, perhaps you’ve been recently forced to start homeschooling and working full time), you may have a colleague that would love the referral. Or vice versa, if you’re worried about your funnel of new business it may be a good time to reach out to your network to see if others have overflow. If you need help or new business, now is the time to ask. In either case, there is no time better than now to stay in touch with those in your network and lean on each other.
- Stay Secure & Vigilant – In times like these there can be an increase in phishing and malware attacks and you and your firm members need to remain vigilant. Give employees access to a virtual private network (VPN) so they can establish a secure connection to WiFi from home. Many VPNs are available online or in the app store. Prices vary, but tend to be $20 per month: a small investment to ensure your firm’s cybersecurity. You can also use phishing reporting tools in Outlook and Gmail to block online attacks and alert the IT admin at your firm.
- Give Clients Payment Options – There is no better time than now to rely on Headnote’s industry-compliant payment features. If you’ve got clients that normally pay via check or wire transfer, you may want to send them a Headnote payment link with the option of paying via credit card or eCheck. You may even consider using Headnote to give your client multiple payment plan options, either automatic recurring payments or installment payments in an amount of their choosing at the cadence they select. Using Headnote’s Automated Reminder features can also help you take collections work off your plate so you have more time available to assist your team and clients.
We Are In This Together
As we all work to navigate life and work in this new reality, remember that you are not alone. All businesses are struggling to keep up with the new demands and many industries will have a hard time bouncing back. Lawyers and law firms are an essential service – we will bounce back and we will get through this. Now more than ever our society needs great lawyers and we’re all counting on working together to pull out of this as one.
If you need anything from the Headnote team, we’re here for you. Keep fighting the good fight.
Stay safe and well,
Sarah + Team Headnote