The world is trying to deal with the COVID-19 in a variety of ways. Controlling the spread of the deadly virus is at the top of the list. Travel is being restricted, and some countries have even closed their borders. The United States was slow to react, but eventually states imposed restrictions for business operations to reduce the coronavirus spread and then began re-opening in phases. Social distancing and maintaining clean hygiene practices are the normal mode of operation now. More and more businesses are allowing their employees to stay at home where possible.
What does that mean for the practice of law? How will you meet with clients? Most firms have adopted a telework environment and allow their employees to work from home, even while some firms have begun re-opening. Working from home has different consequences depending on your current capabilities and whether a plan is already in place. While we can’t cover all the possibilities and capabilities of every law firm, we’ll attempt to attack some of the common considerations.
Let’s start with a very basic item…the computer. Hopefully, everyone is already using a laptop as their main office machine. As expected, some popular models of laptops are still in short supply. Worst case, you may have to find a Best Buy, Target, Walmart, etc. and see if you can purchase a consumer-grade machine. If you planned properly, laptop users are already configured for remote access. Perhaps now would be a good time to modify your infrastructure plans and budget for laptops and docking stations for those folks that need a mobility option. You may even consider docking stations for home use in addition to one at the office.
Many firms have already adapted and have their employees working from home. Believe it or not, in the early days of responding to the pandemic, some people picked up their work computers, monitors, keyboards and all other peripherals on their desk and took them home. We can’t imagine the headaches the IT support people had instructing a user to connect all the cords and devices up properly, not to mention configuring the desktop to connect to the home network. Our suggestion is to avoid taking desktops home and just deal with laptops and home machines. It will save a lot of headaches, wasted time and support costs. Speaking of home machines…they bring a whole new set of problems and liability which we’ll address later.