Virtual Spring Cleaning for Your Office

Spring is just around the corner. People traditionally take advantage of spring's mild temperatures and sunshine to open the windows and deep clean their homes. While you're deep cleaning your house, take time at the office to engage in some virtual spring cleaning with three simple steps. 

Step 1: Take Inventory of Your Software

Start by taking inventory of your software applications.  

Does everyone have the current version of each application? If not, it's time to get everyone up-to-date and on the same version. When everyone in the office is on the same version, it's easier to help each other out when issues arise. It's also easier to provide quality training when everyone has the same version. 

Does everyone know how to use the current version? When was the last time you provided training on the new features of each application? If it's been a while since you've provided training, it's time to invest in training. We only take advantage of a small fraction of what our software can do all too often. Training is the key to opening the door to greater efficiency and reduced frustration.

Step 2: Review Your Templates

Next, focus on how you draft documents. 

Do you start with a template or work from a recently drafted document? If you start from a recently drafted document, it's time to put some quality templates together. The right templates make it easy to add client-specific information and when loaded with help text, can help with onboarding new users. 

Are your templates actual template files (.dotx) or document files (.docx)? Template files create a copy of themselves when you double-click to open them, reducing the likelihood of someone inadvertently saving over a template with client-specific changes. 

Do your templates include all of the optional provisions you frequently need? If not, find that language and add it to your templates. Add help text to let drafters know when to include or exclude that language. 

Are there any formatting headaches accompanying your templates? If so, take the time to dig into the issues. When templates are properly set up with styles and automatic paragraph numbering, using them should be painless. If you're not sure how to style them properly, get training on how to create, modify, and apply styles to get you going fast. 

Step 3: Clean Up Your Onboarding Process 

Finally, take a look at how you onboard new attorneys and staff. 

Do you have a written training plan for bringing new users up to speed? If not, there's no time like the present to put one together. Include everything a new hire needs to know. Even new hires who touted themselves as Microsoft Word experts on their resumes probably have a lot to learn about Word when it comes to styles and some of the more advanced features. Don't forget about less prevalent applications, such as your practice management system, that new hires may not have encountered before. 

Does your onboarding training encompass the entire first year? The most effective onboarding training doesn't occur over a single day, week, or even a month. Onboarding should start with core training - the applications and features that new users will be using every day. Then, as the weeks and months progress, provide training on more advanced features or ones used less often. Build-in refresher training throughout the year to ensure that nothing gets forgotten.

Danielle DavisRoe

Written by Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle’s many responsibilities at Affinity include training, CLE/speaking, writing, and management consulting. Prior to joining the Affinity family, Danielle practiced family law. She discovered, however, that she enjoyed making efficient use of technology more than practicing law, making her a perfect fit for consulting. Danielle describes her superpower as “herding cats,” and her favorite parts of her job are making others’ jobs and lives easier.

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