Here, Neil Lloyd managing director of Midlands based law firm FBC Manby Bowdler discusses how a proactive approach is best for firms looking to bounce back from the pandemic.
When I look back to where we were in March 2020, I imagine that most of us were in the same boat. In the most unprecedented of circumstances, we found ourselves having to learn new ways of operating remotely, adapting to an environment where our usual networks moved online and finding new ways to support colleagues and teams.
But with (hopefully) the worst of the pandemic behind us and the economy showing positive signs of recovery, it’s time to start thinking more positively about the future and making the most of opportunities to grow and develop our business.
Agility has been key to dealing with the last 12 months – and it is something that is now an essential part of any business and not just an optional extra. We had invested in our equipment so that our team was able to pivot to remote working as efficiently as possible, but the human aspect of that agility has not been lost on us either.
This means recognising that working from home is different. That people respond in different ways to remote working and that uncertainty creates anxiety and stress. It is a folly to think that one size fits all when dealing with staff and never more so than in response to working from home.
It’s been important to show real trust in our people and not fall into the trap that ‘out of sight is out of mind’ or that remote working is in some way the same as a day off. Building emotional intelligence in dealing with people has been key to keeping a united team. It also means being agile in our leadership.
It’s easy to become wedded to plans that have taken a considerable time to draw up and fall into the sunk cost fallacy. We have had to learn to let go of the old certainties, make sure our thinking remains flexible and that the vision we have for our business is a vision for the world as it now is — and will be — rather than the comfortable world we once knew.
The very worst thing we can do is believe that we can carry on with business as usual. There is every reason to now believe that the world of work that emerges over the next year or two will be significantly different to the one we were all used to. It seems fair to assume that hybrid working patterns — with staff working in part at home and in part at the office — are now much more widespread, flexible working has increasingly become the norm and we welcome that here.
The wellbeing of our staff will continue to become ever-more important on the business agenda. We’ve found that it ‘s also important to have the right infrastructure in place to help drive new business activities and to make them more efficient. Technology can really help you to better manage client relationships and identify new business targets.
At FBC Manby Bowdler, we have three different IT systems which support our business development objectives and help us identify new targets; firstly, we have used Accesspoint to build reports for our case management system which allow us to see which clients use which discipline, or not as the case might be.
Then we have Artesian to help us track when our clients are in the news or are on social media. This allows us to spot proactive opportunities where we can offer our help to clients. And lastly, we have introduced Introhive. This system allows us to track the strength of a clients’ relationship with us across the firm and in turn helps us to increase revenue.
Whilst we have and will continue to invest heavily in new technology we are also mindful of our teams digital wellbeing. Ensuring they take healthy amounts of time away from their screens is important as its proven to help improve the quality of sleep, reduces the amount of sedentary time, reduces stress and anxiety and can improve productivity.
The results are powerful and through my other business techtimeout we work with organisations here and in the USA to help empower their employees to have a healthier relationship with their technology We look to the future with enthusiasm and optimism, knowing that there are new opportunities out there for our firm to grow and to deliver a more complete service to our clients.
As well as helping generate more revenue, our focus on nurturing existing customer relationships shows our clients that we are there for all their legal needs and allows us to offer them proactive, rather than reactive advice. So, if and when they do need us, we know they will call. So, a final thought: the future is not yet written, and we cannot know what tomorrow will bring.
Accept change, apply your best principles to guiding your business through it and be agile. That way, as Captain Sir Tom Moore so beautifully said, tomorrow will be a good day. FBC Manby Bowdler is one of the Midlands’ leading law firms and regularly features in national guides to the best legal practices in the country.
For more information visit – https://www.fbcmb.co.uk/