With many concerned about COVID-19, the NJSBA Solo and Small-Firm Section has been sharing tips on NJSBA’s CommunityNET about working from home.
The NJSBA’s online community forum has enabled the section to engage with its nearly 500 members on this breaking topic. Practitioners may find they need to know how to forward calls to their cell phones, reschedule events or set up virtual ones.
All NJSBA members who belong to sections and committees have a community for their group in CommunityNET. Find out more by logging in to NJSBA.com, click CommunityNET and find your groups under My Communities. Just click on the title for the group page.
Here are 8 useful tips from Solo and Small-Firm Section members and check out the new NJSBA PracticeHQ for info on hardware and networking:
- Make sure you have a reliable printer with plenty of ink and paper.
- If you don't have one already, buy a quality scanner so that you can scan and upload any documents you create from home. Back in the day a colleague told me "If you have a decent printer and a Fujitsu Scansnap scanner, you can work from anywhere in the world." That might have been stretching a little but it was still good advice.
- Work with your IT people to make sure you and your team have access to your work files, emails and billing software.
- Make sure to back up your documents to a hard drive, to the cloud or both.
- Most stores deliver paper and supplies, and have free shipping if over X dollars... paper doesn't go bad so it won't hurt to buy more to get the free shipping.
- Reach out to your landline telephone provider in regards to forwarding office phone calls to your cell phone.
- You may also want to consider VOIP for your phone. Many companies out there do this. I use Vonage but there are a lot of companies like Nextivia, Ringcentral,etc - its Voice Over Internet. All you need is an internet connection. Download on app on your cell phone so that all calls go through your app - you can receive and make calls from this app anywhere and no one will know you're not in the office.
- Now is the time for solos/small firms to consider software programs like LEAP, Cosmolex, etc. They’re accessible anywhere.
- Whether you're on a call to a client, other business call (even if it's a sales rep), make sure:
-there's no dog barking in the background;
-the television is not blaring; and
-the baby isn't crying or the child isn't throwing a tantrum.
- Set up a dedicated "home office" space that's separate from your normal living space, if possible. Be in "work mode" when you go there.
- Give yourself a routine if you can
- Have a good scanner and printer.
- Pay someone to go your office/mailbox, scan your mail, and email it to you
- Use VOIP and get yourself a good microphone. I actually use a music recording mic for phone calls, and it works great.
- Scan everything. Transition away from paper files. Make sure there is an electronic copy of anything you might need.
- Back up everything using a cloud service that also syncs to multiple computers. I use Google Drive and have no complaints.
- Have a multiple monitor setup. If you primarily use a laptop, get a laptop stand and separate mouse/keyboard
- If you don't have them already, get Office 365, Adobe Acrobat, and a Stamps.com account
- Use Acrobat or another service to get signatures electronically. I like Hellosign when I need signatures from my clients.
- Get the following office supplies:
Envelopes, multiple sizes
labels, multiple sizes
Questions about CommunityNET? Contact Barbara Straczynski, [email protected]