Most lawyers can recall a time when as a trainee lawyer, an Associate or Partner walked up and asked “do you have capacity?” This wasn’t a phrase heard too often at University, but you quickly get used to understanding how to answer and use the term in the workplace. Put on the spot, the answer is invariably “yes of course, what do you need?” That might not have been the case exactly, but felt like the right answer at the time, with hourly targets and the need to be available.
The result of taking on too much work on a personal level at best might mean de-prioritising other work, or handing off to a sympathetic colleague, or at worse a weekend spent under mountains of matters, with cancelled social plans, rising stress and pressure on mental health.
For a legal team, the implications of not understanding the workload of colleagues can have other repercussions. Team morale may suffer, efficiency won’t be optimised and the risk of poor client experience increases. A team member might end up becoming a bottleneck while others would like more or different work and are feeling unsatisfied while quietly saying “I have capacity!!” But with everyone saying they have capacity – it becomes hard to allocate work effectively.
Lawyer capacity management tool
At Tabled we wanted to provide a simple solution for legal teams to understand team workload and capacity, for the efficiency and mental health gains it can bring – particularly during this Covid period of remote working when it can be harder to communicate about the pressures we each face.
We looked at other project management tools and while some can cater for workload and team capacity, the systems are complex and risk turning off people from using them.
As part of Tabled’s wider workflow system we wanted to do something that gives team members an easy way to show the rest of their team their workload and capacity. We have introduced a traffic light system to our work allocation tool – easily turned on or off by admins of the workspace.
Team members simply set their capacity to let others know how they are feeling about their capacity and make work allocation easier and more transparent. Of course, if everyone is always set to green, the platform gives team leaders an easy way to look deeper into people’s workload. The platform can also enable anyone to pick up work as it comes in and see what others are doing, so allowing for equitable work allocation around a team, whether in house or in a law firm.
The question now is would you set your capacity to red? We think you owe it to yourself and the rest of your team, from time to time!
Whether you are a lawyer in house or work in a law firm,
Tabled provides an easy way to allocate work to your team equitably.
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