Skip navigation

What does hybrid work mean for law firms long-term?

by Liam Stainer | September 14, 2022

An article from Liam Stainer of Oosha, an Access company - one of the UK's leading and award-winning providers of Cloud and IT Managed Services to legal firms.

There’s no doubt that the world of work has fundamentally changed in the past three years. In particular, millions of workers who hadn’t previously been able to work from home were forced into doing so, and many of them found that they preferred it to working from an office.

As a result, hybrid working models - where employees work some of the time from home and some of the time in the office - have soared in popularity. Workers have come to enjoy the savings in commuting time and money, and the better work-life balance that remote work has given them. Indeed, remote working is now considered so highly by some employees that they’ve been leaving employers not willing to give the flexibility they want, in favour of an alternative business that will.

While the legal sector had already explored hybrid working to an extent pre-pandemic, developing a clear working model is now essential. Law firms that can get this right will empower their employees, find talent retention and attraction easier, and explore potential cost savings through smaller offices. In this blog, we’ll look at all the ins and outs of hybrid working from the specific perspective of the legal sector.

Why do law firms need to optimise their hybrid working models?

When the first lockdown occurred in the spring of 2020, many law firms had to move to remote working virtually overnight, with staff literally being sent home with their laptops as offices were closed. Because the change was at such short notice, normal in-office processes were simply transposed to run virtually instead, bringing all their inefficiencies with them.

But in the long term, hybrid working has to be carefully planned and implemented. Only that way can employees communicate effectively wherever they’re working, universally accepted tools can be deployed and used, and the culture of the organisation can be maintained.

The key challenges to overcome

When considering how to perfect a hybrid working strategy, there are several important factors to bear in mind:

  • Software and hardware management: employees need full access to all of the data and applications they need to do their jobs wherever they’re working. If their old office environment was desktop-based, then hardware and software changes need to be made
  • Cybersecurity and training: it can be harder to ensure staff comply with security policies when working remotely, especially in ensuring they avoid keeping hard copies of documents at home, or using personal phones or email accounts to contact clients
  • Staff and client response: remote working is not for everyone - some may struggle with the isolation, some may not have a suitable environment at home, and younger staff may find it difficult to build strong mentor relationships that help them learn
  • Roles and responsibilities: building working relationships virtually can be trickier than doing so when working together in person; additionally, employees who favour office work can often feel that their counterparts working remotely aren’t pulling their weight
  • Collaboration: having different staff working in different places at different times can easily cause confusion around how employees meet and collaborate, as well as how documents and information are shared
  • Talent attraction and retention: employers must be clear about how flexible their working policy is in order to hold onto or recruit talented staff; those who mandate full-time office work are likely to put themselves on the back foot in a competitive job market


How a virtual desktop can help

One of the most practical ways to resolve these issues is with a virtual desktop. This is where users can work through a virtual version of their normal desktop, powered by secure cloud servers, on every type of device and with full access to all the data and applications they need.

A virtual desktop can:

  • Enable seamless connections and collaborations between office-based and home-based employees, with everyone able to access all applications and documents
  • Ensure data is kept safe through storage in secure cloud data centres with multi-layered security, alongside automatic software updates
  • Give law firms full freedom to define whichever hybrid working model that suits them and their employees
  • Open up lines of communication to break down barriers and negative perceptions between office and remote workers
  • Allow systems and cultures to be restructured so that talented staff can be hired from anywhere, work from anywhere, and feel supported by their employer


Is hybrid working the future for law firms?

In a word: yes. But as this blog demonstrates, there’s more to take into account than it may seem at first glance, as many law firms are now discovering. Technologies like virtual desktops can make a big difference to helping law firms modernise and continue to succeed in a fast-evolving post-pandemic world.

Oosha’s leading virtual desktop solution is ideal for law firms wanting to maximise the potential of hybrid working. Take a closer look at how it works by clicking the link above.

Related Content