LMA Northwest recently held a panel discussion to share tips and tricks for staying productive, serving attorneys and navigating this new virtual world while we are all at home. Kim Lyons, Holland & Knight West Coast Area Development Manager, moderated the discussion with panelists Jennifer Magin, Davis Wright Tremaine Practice Manager, Carlene Richardson, Stoel Rives Business Development Operations Manager, and Geneva Granatstein, Lane Powell Marketing Communications Supervisor. Below are some of our favorite tips to incorporate into your own routine.
Separating Work From Home
- Set your scheduled work hours and communicate that through your signature block and out of office messages. This helps to set realistic expectations with attorneys for when you are and are not available.
- At the end of the day, put your laptop away to help you mentally step away from the office and turn your “work brain” off for the evening.
- Establish a designated work area in your home to help create some separation between your work and home spaces. If others are also working within your home, find separate spaces for each of you if possible.
- Set boundaries with others in your home. Avoid unannounced interruptions and communicate any important meetings you have so that they are aware and can respect that time. This is especially important when needing to maintain confidentiality or communicate sensitive information. This is easier said than done for those of us with kids at home!
Taking Care of Your Own Wellness
- Find an outlet to clear your head at the end of the day, such as taking a walk, spending time gardening, or working out – any activity that sparks happiness.
- Maintain your usual schedule. Get up in the morning as you would normally when going into the office, take a lunch break to reinvigorate yourself for the afternoon, and sign off and step away from your computer at the end of the day.
- Schedule a virtual working session with your colleagues. Even if you’re working on different projects, this can help keep you motivated and maintain those connections you’re missing from the office.
- Feel comfortable taking time off as needed. Just because you aren’t “going anywhere” doesn’t mean you can’t use PTO. This is an incredibly stressful time, and it’s important to pay attention to how we are feeling. A day off to give yourself some TLC might be just what you need to feel your best and be more productive when you return to the virtual office.
- Consistently schedule time with those you love. Make activities like virtual happy hours, video calls with your family, and/or date nights a priority.
- Implement the Eisenhower Matrix to help you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance in a visual way.
- With many firms reducing hours and team size, reevaluate your to-do list with a different lens. Put more of an emphasis on revenue generating projects and projects that reinforce the value of the marketing team.
- Feel comfortable asking attorneys what “right now” means to them and dig deeper to understand where their sense of urgency is coming from. With many of us working reduced schedules, it’s important to communicate how that impacts timelines and priorities.
- Take the time to connect with attorneys to understand their goals and if their initial strategy makes sense. This is especially important when it comes to writing articles – panic authoring content does not provide value and often there may be another channel that makes more sense.
- If your workload is light right now, determine what projects you can do now to help yourself out in the future when things pick back up.
Implementing Technology to Increase Productivity
- Implement a tool to aid in reducing email traffic, such as Teams, Yammer, Slack or Skype, where your team can ask quick questions like you normally would in-person. These tools can also help keep some of the firm culture alive virtually by creating threads on topics for all to participate in.
- Utilize project management software to keep all projects in one central location and allow your team to provide status updates that are easily accessible by everyone. Smartsheet and Asana are two of the panelists’ favorites. This is incredibly helpful in communicating to firm leadership how the marketing team is continuing to provide value and stay busy.
Maintaining Relationships Virtually
- Utilize virtual calls, such as weekly 1:1 meetings with individual team members and a weekly all-hands team meeting. Keep these meetings short and make sure to check in on both a work and personal level. Add in a level of fun by doing Zoom background contests, sharing a favorite item from each team member’s home, etc.
- Offer regularly scheduled virtual “office hours” where your attorneys can join for an open forum discussion on their current business development and marketing needs. These sessions can be open ended or focused around a specific topic, such as how to utilize social media to maintain connections virtually.
Virtual Business Development Ideas
- Encourage attorneys to pick up the phone and check in with their clients and contacts. The calls should be an opportunity to check in on clients on a personal level, beyond what they can do for them on a work level.
- Help attorneys find ways to stay top of mind with contacts such as authoring legal updates, conducting webinars, etc.
- Provide social media training – this situation is an opportunity to show the value that social media offers and attorneys are more willing to implement social media into their BD efforts while attending events is not an option.