Law Firm Best Practices: Effectively Managing a Hybrid Office
by Ken Neal
February 8, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic motivated law firms to adopt new approaches for operating in a “hybrid office.” There’s been much discussion about the concept of the hybrid office — what it is and how the pandemic and other business trends are driving its emergence. Although there is little guidance on how to effectively manage a hybrid office, this is a unique window in time to seize on the necessity and acceptance of change.
A key characteristic of a hybrid office is that it relies on an office services support team, as well as automated workflow processes and technology solutions, to enable employees to work efficiently either in the office or remotely. Employees need support wherever they are, especially during times when the business environment is in flux and there are many unknowns. At Canon Business Process Services, we’ve identified strategies to enhance the hybrid work experience with a special focus on safety, flexibility, adaptability and efficiency.
Digital Transformation is the New Imperative
Many law firms either began or ramped up their digital transformation efforts in recent years, and this past year we’ve seen the accelerated use of technology in these transformations. For example, mobile applications give users the ability to submit and track their work-related requests, or track the status of business documents in transit, anywhere, anytime. Digital mail processing services provide firms with electronic versions of hard copy and soft copy documents that can be easily accessed when business needs arise. Digital Intake Center Services — hybrid mailroom and scanning services — unify converted physical mail and email into a common digital format. These documents can be delivered to employees, departments or enterprise content management workflow to optimize document delivery and reduce the time required to access information.
Streamline Your Hybrid Office with Outside Assistance
To fully benefit from the power of these and other technology solutions, law firms are increasingly seeking outside assistance. Almost every industry is experiencing a massive shift from office-based activities to a combined onsite and work-from-home strategy. This trend is likely to be the predominant approach for some time to come. That is why it’s essential to partner with expert managed services providers that can support onsite and virtual office operations. The right partner can also help you create and deploy best practices, which can be a crucial element when you are transforming past or current business processes. As you consider this partnership, it’s important to know what you should look for in a managed services provider.
Three Key Attributes to Look for in a Managed Services Provider
Canon Business Process Services has years of experience working with some of the nation’s biggest law firms. We’ve identified a few key attributes that firms should focus on when engaging a managed services provider:
- Financial stability. Financially stable service providers can invest in developing the subject matter experts crucial to providing their clients with top-quality consulting, implementation and other services. Financial stability also allows service providers to invest in training and developing outsourced support services employees. These employees can be deployed onsite, offsite, offshore or in any combination to support your operations with solutions ranging from document scanning and print/mail center management to discovery services and more.
- A holistic approach. Law firms often need a managed services partner that can provide more than just labor. The most effective partners use a holistic approach that spans people, processes, analytics and technology. Business transformation requires a complex orchestration of critical factors: the right people using the right technology to advance the right business processes at the right time. Successful initiatives can drive costs down. Anything short of this holistic approach limits the ability to deliver the widespread support and maximum business value that companies need. For example, Canon Business Process Services helps firms deliver operational excellence by providing Six Sigma black belts to analyze current processes and develop a customized solution that can be delivered onsite, offsite or offshore. We understand the importance of your culture, collaboration, innovation and the right technology when implementing a solution. This could mean saving money, improving access to information, reducing risk and more. We also offer comprehensive transition plans, expertise in quality management methodologies and tools, and an integrated service delivery model that enables you to run your business processes more efficiently.
Strong quality management capabilities are also a critical part of the equation. We have extensive expertise in quality management methodologies and tools. Our trained professionals monitor internal business processes to uncover and eliminate waste and defects as well as continuously improve performance.
- Virtual and onsite expertise. Canon Business Process Services integrates a range of services to support your workforce. We take a holistic approach to office services that encompasses anticipating business support needs. We can deliver document capture and other data processing services onsite at your location; offsite in our U.S. business processing centers; and offshore via our Asia-based operations, leveraging different time zones for faster cycle time and lower cost. The scope of our support includes copy and print services, mail, records management, conference room services, printer equipment support, office supplies management, office space turnovers, and shipping and receiving.
Law Firms at a Crossroads
Law firm leaders across the country are at a crossroads, challenged by volatile market conditions, increased customer expectations, legacy systems with limited capabilities and a sense of urgency to digitally transform business processes in order to survive this challenging business environment. What seems certain for at least the short term is that to succeed, law firms need to leverage new approaches and adopt some form of a hybrid office strategy. Doing so will help nurture a flexibility and resilience that can enable your firm to thrive in the days, weeks and months ahead.
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