Remote Work At The Geller Law Group
* As of June 2015
The Geller Law Group Remote Company Q&A
Maria C. Simon, Partner - Interview with Remote.co
The Geller Law Group is a Fairfax, Virginia based law firm that specializes in estate planning, small businesses and family law.
I did not start out working remotely, I started out in a traditional law firm environment. After I had my son, I wanted to make a switch to a job that would permit me more work life balance. The remote work structure of the Geller Law Group permitted me that balance – the ability to be at home with my son during breakfast and dinner, catch up on work after normal work hours as needed, and not have to endure a painful commute wasting precious minutes in the car.
The ability to work remotely is extremely important to our business model. We believe that you can have it all, but we need to redefine the paradigm of what it means to have it all. In a traditional law firm setting, having it all meant a corner office achieved through long hours and lots of facetime. Our philosophy is to provide a law firm centered on work life balance for our employees. Remote working permits my team to work from home, encourages them to be self-starters and manage their time effectively, while also providing them the flexibility in their lives that they would not otherwise enjoy in a traditional law firm.
I think the biggest benefit of a remote workforce is permitting our team the ability to manage their lives and their work. While this set up admittedly may not work for all individuals, our team is a group that thrives on being self-reliant.
Remote work is essential to our philosophy of creating a work environment premised on providing lawyers a firm where they can do interesting legal work and still have work life balance.
We use a shared office space that has day offices and conference rooms we can rent. When we conduct interviews, we meet the interviewee at the office space.
As attorneys, we measure productivity through billable hours generated by the employee.
Communication is key. We are constantly emailing each other, cc’ing each other on emails to keep everyone up to date on the status of projects, and also always on gchat to ask questions and work through issues.
We did not have to implement a remote work policy because it was a premise that we were founded upon.
I continually advocate the need to communicate, with me and with each other.
My advice to those companies considering the remote working path is to encourage their employees to set up a workspace in their homes, some place away from the dirty dishes and laundry, to focus on their work. By having your own workplace, outside of the chaos of a family home, an employee can focus on their work, without the commute.
Working remotely is not for everyone. Some people need to go into an office and have more structure. One of the biggest challenges I have found is finding those who can thrive in a remote work environment.
I just moved to a new house, and one of the selling points was the amazing home office I would get to inhabit. It has large windows and built in bookcases.
I maintain a schedule that is only possible through remote working: I get up early (around 5:30am) and work for a few hours before I get my son up for school. After dropping him at school, I come home and go for a quick run. I’m typically back in front of my computer by 9:30am. I work until I need to pick him up from school between 5am and 5:30pm. I then spend time with him until he goes to bed around 8:30pm. At that time, I either log back on to finish up any outstanding work, or do the other household tasks that need to be completed.
This schedule permits me to have work/life integration. I can see my son and spend quality time with him. I typically do not waste time commuting and therefore spend more quality time working. It gives me control of my schedule and my life.