Back to all articles
Legal tipsJune 25, 2020

Legal team comeback. Post-COVID-19 recovery plan.

COVID-19 has impacted many businesses. Closing down usual operations was difficult enough, but ongoing post-quarantine stages are bringing new challenges.

No single blueprint can help all businesses simultaneously, as each company has been impacted in a unique way. Nonetheless, we pulled together an action plan so legal departments can use our expertise to aid in their recovery.

1. Don’t bail on digital transformation

Online services were slowly taking over operations before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the abrupt shutdown of offline businesses forced them to adopt digitalization overnight.

It seems the threat of virus infections is not ending anytime soon. Either way, some clients will prefer to operate online from here on out. For this reason, we suggest you prepare a separate scenario for online customers moving forward. Plans built for online collaboration will likely require documents be delivered with little to no legal team involvement. Contract management software is a great solution in this case.

2. Analyze crisis performance to predict future risks

Despite quarantine catching businesses completely off guard, a reluctance to the sudden reformation probably brought the most challenge. Appreciating your crisis experience and analyzing the performance of your legal department can be useful in moving forward. You can identify problem areas, find solutions to minimize future risks and prepare force-majeure protocols with potential crisis action plans.

Despite quarantine catching businesses completely off guard, a reluctance to the sudden reformation brought the most challenge.

3. Keep up with new regulatory norms

All COVID-19 restrictions vary depending on your location. Each business must follow local rules. If you are operating globally, you have to adjust every branch to the relevant legislation presented. Legal teams must keep track of legal changes and ensure compliance with all new norms. For instance, you can follow this link to look at the United States Specific Laws and Regulations Applying to Quarantine and Isolation.

Whether we like it or not, the new reality requires new rules. Every business process, from manufacturing to receiving payments, is being affected by new restrictions and regulations. It is an uncertain time for most businesses, so stay alert and be flexible in your operations.

4. Improve training and onboarding processes

During the lockdown, proper office onboarding became a luxury. Teams, worldwide, were left to optimize their processes in a way that company training and workshops could remain effective online. New measures forced businesses to adjust their protocols and reports quickly. By arming your legal teams with automated workflow software, you can ensure all employees are familiar with new rules and ready for whatever the future may bring.

On top of that, to help teams, especially with recently appointed employees to avoid a mess in document update flows, we suggest resorting to contract lifecycle automation. It streamlines legal operations in general and helps with the rapid processing of changes without any additional reviews or notifications.

5. Avoid using hard copies and release in-person meetings

Legal software document management has proven to be fully functional, even before lockdown. During quarantine, knowledge of how to do an electronic signature became a game-changer. Online contract signing is here to stay, so why waste paper?

And what about video conferencing? It is hardly rocket science. Besides, your employees are less stressed when they aren’t required to spend extra time commuting. Research, contract reviewing, policy drafting, and internal investigation work can all be done remotely. Simply measure the time spent on tasks, both on-site and remote, and we bet performance is proven more effective from home. Automation and contract lifecycle management software like AXDRAFT will help you get organized with contract management.

6. Prepare for a ‘second wave’

It’s sad to admit, but we will likely experience a so-called ‘second COVID-19 wave’. Besides that, scientists around the world warn about the potential outbursts of other diseases. This is an opportune time to be analytical and review your existing policies. In addition to adjusting the necessary sick leave, child care, travel, and vacation policies, take your time on developing new protocols for pandemic-related situations. Be sure to implement new action protocols for disease outbreaks, meetings during lockdowns, new sanitary rules, and pandemic sick-leave compensation.

You know you’re prepared when you can answer the following question with confidence and clarity: if COVID-19 strikes again, can we adapt to new rules within 3 days, and if so, how?

You know you’re prepared when you can answer the following question with confidence and clarity: if COVID-19 strikes again, can we adapt to new rules within 3 days, and if so, how?

7. Adjust the workspace to new realities

Open office spaces are now considered a threat, causing social distancing to be a new normal in the workplace. Take care of your employees by providing them with a safe distance between their desks, creating more privacy throughout the office, emphasizing hygiene, and making sure your office elevators are lines friendly.

8. Expect increased litigation

Contract disputes, insurance litigation, and fraudulent claims are trending during the economic downturn. It’s not surprising that businesses are having to save themselves from bankruptcy. During times of recession, the responsibility for business security falls on the legal department’s shoulders. It’s easier for your team to access all necessary contracts and obligations when you use litigation document management software. By automating your documents, you can protect your business from major human mistakes that lead to tangible financial losses.

9. Embrace empathy and be supportive

Returning to the office might be stressful for your employees. Anxiety and stress are natural responses to a lockdown and lack of social interactions. Above all, show your team that the company values human safety by bringing attention to any mental struggles employees may be experiencing.

Self-quarantine also gave your employees the freedom to manage their time however they want. The habit of hanging out with their families during breaks might be hard to give up. Social anxiety, being used to family time, and potential risk of infection at the workplace, are very challenging issues. Be patient while your employees are readjusting and support them along the way.

10. Allow extra flexibility

These days, the world is like a one-year-old baby learning to walk. Getting back on track will take time, and new realities will require new demands. Mundane tasks like commuting have become challenging for some, forcing an office reopening to cause significant stress. Everyone formed their own sort of bubble, so it’s better if they come out at their speed. Focus on business productivity and be flexible when returning to offline work.

11. Do not rush into a complete reopening

Remember, COVID-19 has not yet been defeated. The vaccine is not available, and cases are growing in some countries. Companies carry the risk of spreading the infection among clients and employees who have the right to take injury cases to court for compensation.

Companies carry the risk of spreading the infection among clients and employees who have the right to take injury cases to court for compensation.

Even handshakes are still considered dangerous. It means that we have one less awkward etiquette situation to overcome. Even though handshake is a ritual element that traditionally follows a closed deal, some thoughts suggest handshaking should be stopped even when the pandemic ends. For instance, White House health advisor Anthony Fauci states: “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you.” He believes that it does prevent coronavirus disease and decreases instances of influenza dramatically. All because handshaking is one of the major ways that one can transmit a respiratory illness.

A rapid reopening is not worth it, so stay put and keep as much work remote as possible. The gradual return has more chances to pay off and become a safe way to jump back into the regular operations legal departments got used to.

Stay in Touch!Subscribe to our Newsletters