How to Navigate the New Norm of Remote Working
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many companies realize that they do not need expensive office real estate to maintain productivity. While some were forced into allowing employees to work from home because of government shutdowns for non-essential businesses, others were well on their way to a remote workforce long before the novel coronavirus.
At Mase Mebane, our legal team quickly shifted to a hybrid-remote model, allowing our employees the flexibility to continue providing our clients the highest level of legal representation throughout these trying times. Our firm is committed to providing you with up-to-date information regarding the latest COVID-19 news and developments. As we settle into 2021, we would like to share a few updates and tips about working from home.
Remote Work Statistics 2021
In 2018, only 5.3% of the American workforce worked remotely on a permanent basis. Today, it is projected that up to 70% of the American workforce will work virtually at least five days per month. The pandemic skyrocketed the number of companies that moved their employees to a remote environment, and the move does not appear temporary.
As noted in a recent Forbes article about remote work:
- The number of permanent remote workers is expected to double in 2021.
- 74% of CFOs surveyed plan to shift employees to remote work permanently.
- Despite more people working from home, 94% of employers reported that productivity remained at the same level or higher since the pandemic started.
- Many companies that moved to remote offices during the pandemic plan to allow employees to remain virtual.
Florida Court Updates
The legal industry was not immune from COVID-related restrictions. Most courts shut their physical doors to help reduce the spread of the virus, and few have fully reopened. Many courts have had to pivot quickly as local case numbers dramatically increased over the summer and the winter holidays.
For instance, Miami-Dade Courts remain closed to in-person proceedings with limited exceptions. Most proceedings are conducted remotely through “virtual court.” Jury trials were suspended through January 31 but resumed February 1st.
Internet technology has allowed courts to continue administering justice through Zoom trials and telephone hearings. While Zoom trials have their challenges, they have proven essential during these unprecedented times. A pandemic of this magnitude twenty years ago would have crippled the judicial system, but modern video-conference capabilities have allowed the courts to continue with little pause.
How Remote Work Might Affect Workers’ Compensation Cases
The explosion of telecommuting and virtual offices has had a significant impact on workers’ compensation and other areas of the law related to employers’ liability.
It is important to note that working from home does not eliminate an employer’s liability and does not bar you from submitting a workers’ compensation claim if your injury arose out of your employment and occurred within the course of employment.
Given that a sizable percentage of the American workforce will likely be working remotely in the years to come, there will undoubtedly be new precedents set in the courts. We will continue to bring you the most recent updates as decisions are rendered at the state and federal level.
Tips for Staying Professional During Virtual Meetings
The widespread adoption of remote work has drastically changed the way we do business. One of the most important things companies seek is the ability for employees to stay engaged and collaborate. Adapting to virtual meetings is essential, and while it can be tempting to show up in your pajamas, you must maintain professionalism even when working from your home.
Tips for staying professional during Zoom meetings:
- Keep your appearance professional. If a sweatshirt was not considered work-appropriate before the pandemic, it is not appropriate in a virtual setting either.
- Do not eat on camera. Unless, of course, it is a lunch meeting.
- Use good lighting. There are several affordable options for upgrading your home office with video-friendly lighting.
- Stay on mute unless you are speaking. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised.
For attorneys who are new to virtual hearings, consider the Do’s and Dont’s of a Zoom Trial available on our blog.
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Contact our office today at (844) 627-3529 to speak directly with an experienced attorney.