Hi there. It is time to give you an update and to talk about reopening your law offices. So this is something that it’s time to look at, whatever your policy has been over the last couple of months, and figure out “Where do I stand now?” And maybe you’ve already done this when your state started reopening.
I think every state at this point has started reopening, but I could be wrong. But in Arizona, we were on a lockdown until May 15th. And so in March, Modern Law came up with its policy, which was we are no longer accepting walk-in appointments. We will only have one person in the office at a time. You must schedule in advance. And we’re moving most meetings to video. Uh, then, so that is the policy for patrons, for employees.
The policy was stay home if you want to stay at home, come in if you want to come in. If you are sick, do not come in. So that was the policy for employees. And it meant that we were all going to have to be flexible and supportive and optimistic so that that’s what our policy was that began in March and it’s gone remarkably well.
At first there was a productivity hit, but as time has gone on, we actually have never ever been more productive than we are right now. And the way that I’m measuring that is by the number of dollars that are built each day. So we are simply doing more billable work now than we ever have before. And that’s a combination of great marketing that’s bringing in clients, great sales techniques, that’s closing clients and a workforce that has figured out how to support each other enough to work successfully from home.
So what now?
Now we know more, we know more than we did in March, and we’ve got the mask issue. So masks are controversial and also cultural and regional. There are different things happening in different regions all over the country. So we have to decide at Modern Law, like, what are we going to do now?
We had been allowing in-person consultations. We had been socially just in seeing when the guidelines first came out, they did not include mask wearing. And mask wearing was controversial for a long time. Now it seems to be more generally accepted.
So here’s what we’ve done at Modern Law, here’s the updated policy. We now know that having a conversation face to face for a prolonged period of time inside is one of the riskiest activities. That means the in-person meetings to me are more dangerous now than we knew they were in March.
So we are now highly encouraging all meetings to occur via Zoom. And if outside clients come into the office, we are requiring that both our staff and they wear masks. I also had to update my employee policy because when I said if you’re sick, stay home. What I didn’t say was if you have any symptoms of anything whatsoever, stay home. And I’ve now updated our policy to that.
If you have any symptoms of anything whatsoever, stay home. Because what’s happening is some people like coming into the office and that is fine with me. I have no problem with that. The people who are coming in the office, there’s not a lot of us, there’s very few of us. So we are, you know, a defacto part of each other’s bubble. So I’m not requiring masks in my office when just the small bubble of people are here.
So what is happening though is some of those people might get sick, one had pink eye, and you know, the doctor gave her antibiotics and told her she was fine and she could come in, but she hadn’t been tested for COBIT. And then there’s the question of whether or not pink eye is associated with Covid-19 and it is, and I just think at this point because we don’t know, the best bet that we can possibly have is symptoms of anything, you must stay home. Even allergies like, and I have allergies. So you need to like take out your medicine and if you can’t stop sneezing, you have to stay home. If you can’t stop coughing, you have to stay home. So that is our new updated policy masks required by staff and by clients for any in office meetings.
Most meetings should occur via video. And if you have symptoms of anything whatsoever, stay home. That is the new updated policy. We will roll that out. One of the concerns that my staff had was what happens if we have a client who comes in who won’t wear a mask? People are getting shot over this. What do I do? And my answer, I mean, there’s so much anxiety and fear. My answer was like, let it go. We’re not going to get into any fights with any clients. If they’re not wearing the mask, fine. You put your mask on, let’s make these meetings as brief as possible. So really the only meetings that should be happening in the office should be to notarize a document if it’s necessary.
It’s not because the rules have been changed. So, you know, we have a runner that comes in to pick up paperwork that is ‘must have,’ ‘must go to the courthouse’ and that is a meeting that will happen in office.
But there’s no reason to just chat for a long time and there’s no reason to wear a mask. And we should just be creative about minimizing these in person interactions because we’re inside and because we’re talking, and especially like if you have a consultation with a loud talker like that happened to me and I was like, we know that might be an issue. So, that’s what we’re doing.
I’d love to know what you’re doing and I will let you know how it’s working. But all in all, I have to say like productivity is up, morale is up, people have done what I’ve asked. They supported one another. They’ve, they’ve worked well from home. They’ve created routines that work for them and we’ve largely maintained, um, you know, I’d say not business as usual, but like business, you know, 7.0 the seventh version of our operational plan.