Getting Connectivity Right for Your Firm

Getting Connectivity Right for Your Firm

With several major law firms having made the switch to a hybrid working model, it is time for the legal sector to take another look at the technology they have used to equip their staff. We hear from Robert Gibson-Bolton, who shares his thoughts on the issue of connectivity for staff who choose to work from home.

The world of work has changed. What started out in the UK (and in many other countries too) as a blanket work-from-home (WFH) approach due to lockdown, has now morphed into a seemingly moveable feast. There seems to be a different reaction across the spectrum with respect to how people are currently working. Whilst a few still WFH almost exclusively, the majority of people are mixing things up – a combination of a couple of days in the office, some WFH and even a bit of remote working too.

The legal sector is no different. We have reached the first anniversary of Linklaters’ announcement to adopt a new global agile working policy that focused on remote working. At the core of the announcement was a drive to empower workers at the firm to establish precisely where they decided to work – no faffing about to get the requisite permission.

Many other major law firms adopted a similar stance to working on the basis that remote or agile working did not prevent workers from delivering high-quality work. The practice of having staff WFH at least part of the time looks like it is here to stay. Many people have expressed a desire to continue doing so and many firms continue to be flexible in this respect.

We have reached the first anniversary of Linklaters’ announcement to adopt a new global agile working policy that focused on remote working.

What has been key, though, as firms have tried to adapt to the demands of remote working, has been technology. As IT departments up and down the country struggled to deal with the requirements of a largely disparate workforce, legal firms needed the assurance that their people could seamlessly interact with each other and with their clients. This is an essential requirement for any firm if they are to maintain the high standards of service that their clients have come to expect.

In essence, the bottom-line requirement is to be able to mirror the experience of working at the office but at home or on the move. Easier said than done, perhaps, as firms need to ensure that their people enjoy secure access to resources whilst also enhancing the end user experience. And as we see firms laying the (technological) foundations for their staff to work successfully from home, how can they ensure that their people are working just as productively as they were before? If the quality or quantity of work output is negatively affected, then the whole experiment is doomed to failure. There is a myriad of security and compliance issues that arise from agile and remote working – IT and security teams need to ensure that their people can connect securely, without sacrificing user experience. And as we have already pointed out, all of this needs to be delivered in such a way that service levels to clients are not compromised in any way at all.

Staying connected is important

So, what does this all boil down to? We believe that persistent connectivity matters immensely. Enjoying persistent levels of connectivity is what allows your people to do more. We all know how frustrating it is when connectivity drops on your device. Equally discouraging is when the device that you are working on fails to find a network to connect to, or if the device decides to switch between different networks. Any such drop in connectivity effectively means that a user is not connected for a small period of time. When the user is not connected even for a short period of time, there is no work output. And if connectivity is persistently bad, then these intervals of lost time will soon mount up. This results in very little work output at all.

There is a myriad of security and compliance issues that arise from agile and remote working.

All of this disruption ultimately delivers poor user experience. Consequently, negative user experience impacts on the quality and quantity of work. So, our notion of persistent connectivity provides the flexibility for firms to overcome these challenges. In essence, with consistent connectivity you can ensure that any technology employed is working precisely as it was designed to work. Under these conditions, your people get to enjoy choice user experience wherever they might be working from. This is getting close to the seamless, “same-as-working-from-the-office” experience that we have already touched upon.

And people are not just WFH. Many might be working in a variety of remote locations or even on the hoof. If you picture your own firm, then how many hours might your people spend on a train, in a hotel or even on a client site? With all of this in mind, persistent or consistent connectivity is critical – you have to remain connected irrespective of where you might be working from. So, it is clear to see that as firms grapple with all of the challenges of an ever-mobile workforce, the notion of connectivity will be key. Indeed, it is difficult to envisage successful remote working without it. Your people will need encrypted and reliable connections that can allow them to quickly and easily reach those business applications and services that are important to them. Nobody likes working in a disconnected environment. People will only get frustrated, and workflow gets disrupted. Nobody wins in this scenario, and it is not conducive to the successful pursuit of remote working practices.

Improving the user experience (UX)

When we talk about the concept of traffic optimisation, we are talking about tweaking the connection performance in a way that allows crucial business applications to run accurately and reliably across networks. If we apply this thought process to mobile traffic optimisation, then we are looking to ensure that applications, resources and connections are adjusted for any weak or intermittent network coverage and are able to roam between wireless networks as conditions and availability alter. When connections deteriorate due to poor performance, then any applications that are essential for getting the job done will suffer accordingly. We are talking about the likes of packet loss (when one or more packets fails to reach its intended destination), jitter (when packets do not arrive in the same order as they were sent) or latency (unnatural delays in audio/video). All of this makes working on the move a messy and complicated affair. Unfortunately, wireless networks operate under highly variable conditions, where you have to factor in things like terrain conditions or mobile tower congestion. These problems do not arise with fixed networks (the norm in any office environment).

So, by optimising the flow of traffic, you are able to mitigate packet loss, which can happen on a regular basis if you are out and about or changing between different networks. Packet loss is effectively data loss, so if you are using a data-hungry application, that application will become increasingly difficult to use as packet loss increases. Packet loss is par for the course for those people who commute by train. Traffic optimisation is a key factor in determining the quality of UX for your people. Make sure that you invest in technology that provides for this.

As your firm considers new technologies in the face of adapting working conditions, it is critical that they understand the importance of secure access to resources but also optimising connectivity to provide an enhanced UX for all the members of your team.


Robert Gibson-Bolton, Enterprise Sales Manager

Netmotion by Absolute

Address: NetMotion Wireless (UK), Fora, Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading, RG1 1LX, United Kingdom

Telephone: +0 (800) 048 8442

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