I am so excited to finally interview my co-founder and partner at Lawgistics, her name is Zani! We met at the University of Pretoria in 2007 with chubby cheeks and eyes full of dreams. After working as associates in Big Law, we left to start Lawgistcs in 2015 and there is no one else I would rather have done this with than her.
Zani is super organised, studious and thorough; a proper and good lawyer by the highest standards. Therefore when the news that South Africa has announced a “National Shutdown”, similar to a “Stay in Shelter” we are having in New York – which would require us all to work from home, the first person I contacted was Zani, because she is the WFH Queen!
We have been working from our homes for the last 6 years and boot-strapped Lawgistics to a small business with a healthy turnover. Our practice areas also allow us to work from home with greater ease – we run a commercial and corporate law consulting firm therefore it’s unlike a litigation based practice where you would need to be meeting clients and advocates regularly.
The quarantine period is going to show firms exactly which teams can work remotely and which teams absolutely need to be in the office, what resources may have been unnecessary and how to collaborate better. For many of us working from home is a novel concept but fear not, we are here to help you adjust. In order to get going successfully, Zani recommends the following:
1. Have your Tech
In order to work from home, you need the right technology tools. The basic setup is a laptop/desktop, a reliable wifi connection and a printer (optional). Zani recommends that you have a great portable solution, by either having a data only simcard or a great data plan with your phone plan.
You probably have been stockpiling writing pads, pens and highlighters from your office or other corporate events you attend so this is a good time to finally put them to use!
2. Set a Schedule
Zani’s advice is to “Have a holistic approach to your productivity, you want to eat properly, sleep enough and workout – so this energy can carry into the rest of the work day.” She recommends that you implement office hours – with a fixed start and stop time, which also include breaks. “It’s important to create disciplines that suit your personality and level of concentration” she suggests. For example, some people work for 2 hours and rest for 1 hour, in the beginning you can regulate this with an alarm so that can develop a structure.
One thing that WFH allows you to do is to explore different work styles, so you can harness your productivity. Are you an early bird, or night owl?
3. Beware of Binge Breaks
Watch out for Binge Breaks, where you end up taking a 2 hour break after 30 minutes of work. Rather work your breaks into your work – e.g. you would like to get some meal preparations done – think ahead e.g. let your meat thaw in the morning, marinade at lunchtime and put it in the oven in the late afternoon. Therefore you work with the knowledge that there is something to look forward to – a yummy dinner after a long day of work.
4. Fret Not
Zani says “as a boss don’t spread the paranoia and anxiety of feeling like people are not working and you need to watch them. It’s your duty is to guide people through these uncertain times – not to be an enforcer or guard. You must trust your people and resist the urge to micromanage them, this may require that you change your performance metrics to be output based.”
5. Test Yourself
If you are harbouring thoughts of starting your own business, well this is perfect testing grounds to see how well you can work without supervision, and also to really understand your work style. Are you really a hard worker or a performer? You need to train the muscle of diligence, drive and focus in order to do well in running your business.
T Harv- Eker says “The way you do anything, is the way you do everything”, so don’t think you can take shortcuts in your current job, then magically know how to be diligent and excellent in your business!
6. Secure The Line
Your home internet may be set up for you to watch Netflix, and look at your high schools frenemies pictures on Facebook. However, it may not be secure enough to transmit client information- we discussed this in our article Is Your Clients’ Data Safe With You? Find some additional information here.
Enough chilling – get back work!
What are some WFH tips and practices you are implementing? If you have children, we really want to hear from you!