Technology can help monitor wellbeing

Technology can help monitor wellbeing, says conveyancing veteran

As part of an expert conveyancing panel at the inaugural Digital Conveyancing Summit at the Law Society in London, industry veterans and experts agreed that while technology had made it possible to monitor staff, the positive of that was that wellbeing problems could be picked up and dealt with.

Lloyd Davies, Conveyancing Foundation chairman, joined the panel and said that technology can benefit staff wellbeing by helping companies to recognise when conveyancers are overwhelmed at an early stage.

Speaking alongside other industry experts, Ian McCann, CEO of Legal Studio, and Mike Leeman, Managing Partner of Bell Lamb & Joynson, in a session on how technology had changed working practices within the conveyancing industry and what impact it had had on staff, Davies stressed that while technology could certainly be used more and more to monitor staff, one of its key benefits was in helping conveyancing practices to “manage capacity”. Davies continued:

“Technology plays a big part in managing capacity. We try not to give our conveyancers too much work and tech gives us that transparency of seeing what they can cope with.

What happens with most firms is that they use technology to provide a better service.”

Davies also said that digital feedback enabled by tech provided firms with “an important barometer” of performance which in turn meant potential issues with staff wellbeing could be picked up early.

He added that this has been “particularly helpful during the pandemic when all staff were working from home”.

Recognising the problems which faced conveyancers over the pandemic with extreme work volumes, Davies claimed the best thing that had come out of the working from home experience had been increased trust.

“The best thing that came out of COVID was the trust between employers and employees.

When employees came into the office, we knew they were there and presumed they were working. Working from home meant trust has been very important. Now out of our 170 staff, only 60 work in the office.”

He also talked about the toll the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) deadlines had had on staff during the Pandemic and welcomed the fact the latest SDLT changes were not time-limited, as he stated:

“It’s a good thing that the SDLT changes are at least permanent. No one could have taken any more deadlines. It was terrible in 2021 when we effectively had five deadlines including the seasonal periods like Christmas.

The SDLT deadlines may have been good for business but they were awful for staff wellbeing. We have been trying to look after staff but it has been quite a challenge. Working from home has brought its own challenges but, in my opinion, staff tend to work too hard from home, not the opposite.”

The panel, hosted by David Opie, Managing Director of Today’s Media, agreed that the best use of technology was in supporting staff to enable them to work smarter rather than harder and concentrate on customer service.

They also discussed the positive and time-saving uses of technology including video training, group meetings and automation of some of the simpler tasks as well as the division of labour within a conveyancing practice to enable staff to manage transactions and provide the best service for clients.

The panel event was one of ten sessions at the conference featuring industry experts from the legal and conveyancing worlds looking at the biggest and most topical issues facing them in 2022 and beyond.

A video of the Digital Conveyancing Summit can be found here.

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