Findex noted in its Australian Legal Industry – Financial Performance Survey published on 31 March 2022: “There continues to be ongoing discussions about the future of the law firm working environments… This will be interesting to watch over the coming year with firms moving to return to the office increasing and employees enjoying the ability and flexibility to work remotely.”
The irony of the COVID pandemic for many professionals around the world was that, despite the enormous negativity that it caused across many aspects of life, one of the biggest changes was a major positive, the normalisation of work from home and hybrid work arrangements.
For years professionals were unable to access flexible work arrangements that included work from home or off-site setups due to the stigma that, if someone was not in the office, it meant that they were unproductive.
Two and a half years later, it is now widely accepted that flexible work environments are here to stay for a large portion of the professional workforce. For years, employers in the legal profession had feared the proliferation of work-from-home arrangements due to the perception of lower productivity. Through necessity, and supported by the growth in affordable, accessible and efficient technologies, remote working has now been accepted as a long-term and sustainable working model.
Ironically, the experience of many professionals working from home during the pandemic has not been one of late starts, long lunches and three-day weekends but rather one of increased work hours, concerns over job security and increasing pressures on productivity. The work-from-home phenomenon has blurred the lines between work life and private life. It is no longer as simple as logging off for the day and embarking on your commute home to delineate between work life and home life. Many professionals have in fact ended up working longer hours per day while working from home.
As such, the key to the long-term success of the new remote work arrangements is ensuring that legal professionals can sustain or improve productivity in such environments when compared to working in a traditional office environment. To try and achieve this outcome, businesses have been attempting to identify and then access cost effective, agile and fit for purpose technology solutions.
The Findex Australian Legal Industry – Financial Performance Survey sets out that the impact financially for law firms living with COVID-revealed common themes of being agile and flexible, anticipating higher costs in remote working environments, greater technology support and protecting staff and their productivity.
One of the most effective technologies that has made flexible work environments as productive as possible are quality audio capture and transcription services. The integration of high-quality digital recording applications into smart phones has seen a revolution in the productivity of off-site/remote working arrangements.
Leading platforms in this space provide both offline and online options that maximise a professional’s ability to work on the go. Whether the professional is on a job site but without access to a reliable data connection or in the home (or traditional) office, they have the ability to record and capture all of the relevant data and information, which can either be instantly transferred or saved and transferred when a connection next becomes available.
The best-of-breed audio capture products will also pair their high-quality recording applications with industrial strength encryption and auto-purge methods to ensure the secure transfer of the data to either the business’ databases or external transcription services. In the absence of safe and secure transfer of data, audio capture applications will decrease rather than increase productivity.
Once the audio data has been able to be securely transferred to its end destination, either in-house or outsourced transcription services can be used to convert the audio files captured on the go into high-quality typed content.
The traditional handheld recorder, which has now morphed into an application on a smart phone, is an amazing tool for any professional, particularly those working remotely. Nevertheless, in the absence of a resource to convert the recorded content into a document diminishes the logistical benefits of the audio capture technology.
Traditional in-house transcription resources can still benefit from audio data captured on the go. However, industry leaders in the transcription sector have powerful AI solutions to speed the delivery of a document with a high degree of accuracy. To improve productivity even further, many of these providers have highly skilled, trained and experienced transcribers who can edit and finalise the audio file content which was originally converted by AI to text.
The use of high-quality audio applications that can quickly and easily capture data, which can be paired with in-house or external transcription services means that not only can professionals capture content ‘on the go’ but they can access the transcribed document almost immediately. Providing dynamic technology and AI-powered solutions can continue to drive productivity for remote professionals. The outcome of the application of such agile and powerful technology can help create huge gains in productivity, ultimately resulting in a better work life balance for professionals particularly in a remote working environment.
In our next article, we delve into transcription workflow management platforms and the dramatic improvements in productivity and significant cost savings that can be achieved by choosing the right solution – stay tuned…