With shift towards 100% digital conveyancing now in place for NSW and VIC, firms are starting to think more strategically about the shift to a paperless office and finding ways to be more efficient.

A key to the pillar of success in operating a conveyancing or legal practice is to keep operating overheads down. The second pillar for practice success is collaboration, a real willingness to support your firm and your colleagues. In other words, teamwork.

Renting and fitting out a facility to conduct a conveyancing or legal practice is a heavy burden to carry as it involves covering a lease each month.

So, how can you keep costs low without bringing your team physically together, but still work in a supportive, collaborative environment?

Why not try a Virtual Office (VO)?

What is a VO?

A VO is usually a building consisting of meeting rooms where you can bring clients or gather together colleagues for face to face meetings. However, they only need to be used on demand. When you don’t require a face to face meeting, a virtual assistant will take your telephone calls and relay messages by SMS or email. Your colleagues are located in another geographical area or scattered across a few areas.

The reality is that due to the development of cloud-based legal software and the online world, clients frequent your offices less and less. Employees are also increasingly requesting flexible working arrangements. A VO is a very good option to implement and explore if you find yourself facing these realities.

However, a key concern about VOs is the possibility you may never see your employees. This can make for a very lonely work life.

How can you achieve collaboration and feel supported in a VO environment?

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who “trust” each other” - Simon Sinek.

Google carried out research on 100 different teams within their organisation and found the strongest teams did not have the brightest or hardest working teams. Instead, leader of these teams created an environment of psychological safety. This meant if someone looked down, others showed concerned and support and each person spent roughly the same amount of time talking during conversations – showing value for all perspectives.

Ways you can use technology to help

  • Set up regular video or telephone conference meetings – Regular communication where follow up meetings are conducted to discuss goal progress and project deadlines.
  • Create a firm Intranet – This consists of a central internet, accessed only by firm employees where current and new projects and files can be easily accessed. Make sure this is kept up to date.
  • Make time and ways for you and your employees to connect personally with one another. Perhaps that means sharing photos via the intranet or inviting everyone to EOFY celebrations and Christmas parties so they can meet and feel part of the team.

The key to a VO environment is regular communication as this breeds collaboration. Collaboration fosters genuine care for one another, enabling issues to be addressed before they occur. Ensuring one person does not dominate meeting agenda means each member of your team feels valued and means all ideas can be heard.

Garth Brown B. Bus JP FAICNSW

Garth Brown B. Bus JP FAICNSW

Legal Practice Expert, Industry Thought Leader, Accountant 20 Years’ experience in the Legal Space Author, Webinar Presenter, Trainer & Industry Adviser Fellow AICNSW & 2015 NSW Conveyancer of the Year. Principal Brown & Brown Conveyancers. To find out more about operating a successful legal or conveyancing practice, read my ebook, "Step by Step Guide to a Successful Conveyancing/ Legal Practice" available at https://www.conveyancers.net.au/guide/

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