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Month: February 2020

Out-of-office: Preparing your firm for a remote-working future

Reading time: 8 minutes

Written by Josh Lee | Edited by Jennifer Lim, Andrew Wong

Introduction

The outbreak of the CoViD19 epidemic has had a chilling effect on many. The virus’ continuous spread after the Lunar New Year holidays meant it continued to make its presence felt even as businesses re-opened for work.

Anticipating a worsening of the global health situation, businesses are beginning to prepare themselves for an extended period during which business operations could be impacted. “Business continuity” has become a widely-mentioned theme, with many organisations beginning to implement drawer plans to reduce physical interaction. These plans could include telecommuting and working through remote-workplace tools. For example, the Hong Kong government asked some of its staff to work from home to reduce human-to-human contact. MNCs like DBS, Rio Tinto and UOB have also activated work-from-home plans.

In the legal industry, while established and technology-focused law firms with the necessary infrastructure may be able to make the switch relatively seamlessly, other firms may find it more challenging to do so. This is in particular so for firms that have yet to see a disruption to business of the scale similar to that seen during the SARS or swine flu epidemics.

Notwithstanding the doom and gloom, it remains prudent to take a long view of the present situation, and to see the silver lining in the clouds. While it may appear at first blush to be troublesome to begin implementing business continuity plans, the present generation of telecommuting and remote-workplace tools are more than capable of sustaining businesses for extended periods of time. In fact, the present situation might prove to be just the encouragement for more firms to begin switching permanently to a nimbler, telecommuting-based structure, with communication driven primarily by remote-workplace tools. Indeed, this is the first (and critical) step to the implementation of “virtual law firms” – law firms that work nearly-entirely remotely without the need for a dedicated office space. 

Focusing on remote-working, this article covers the following points:

  1. The benefits of a remote workforce;
  2. The telecommuting tools needed to enable and maintain a remote-working environment; and
  3. Other considerations needed to ensure a successful transition into permanent telecommuting.

Postponement of LawTech.Asia’s Birthday Bash

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Dear Partner, Reader, Friend,

We would like to sincerely thank you for your unwavering support for LawTech.Asia and for our upcoming Birthday Bash. In light of the present national health situation in Singapore, however, we regret to inform you that we will be postponing the Bash temporarily, and we apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

We have not made this decision easily. We arrived at it primarily with the health and wellbeing of all our guests, speakers, participants and friends in mind. We also considered this in light of the recent raising of the public health alert status, as well as latest advisories from the Ministry of Health to avoid large group and communal activities. 

Our team is currently assessing when next to hold the Bash — hopefully in a few months, when the present health situation eases up. On this note, we would like to express once again our heartfelt thanks for the immense support that has been shown to us. It means a lot, and makes us resolved to ensure that when we hold this with-community, for-community Bash again, it will be even bigger and better.

We end with this note — that just as our community must stand together to advance legal innovation, we too, must stand together against this common test. We believe that we can, we will, and that our community will be all the more stronger for it.

And we look forward to seeing you again when that day comes. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support of LawTech.Asia and please continue to stay tuned for more posts and updates on LawTech.Asia.

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