The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is on everyone’s minds. News outlets, social media feeds, friends, and family – everyone is talking about the pandemic. We are anxious about its health and economic effects. There is a lot of uncertainty going around. There are many things we don’t understand about the disease and how it will ultimately affect us. Virtually every economic sector is affected, our daily lives are affected and how we socialize is changed. But how is the legal industry responding to the negative effects caused by the pandemic? Specifically, how does the process serving industry respond to it? What’s the impact on this industry?
We already saw the devastating effects of the pandemic on the hospitality sector, event planning, and entertainment industry. In these industries, the impact was immediate and drastic – businesses have closed down, the staff went into unemployment and the whole industry is blocked. However, the impact on the process serving industry is not so obvious. Of course, process servers in Miami were affected by the pandemic, but the effects are different. As local courts are closed down, process server specialists see a drop in activity and workload.
Process serving is a direct activity – process servers in Miami come into direct contact with people on a daily basis. This is problematic during the pandemic when social distancing measures are enforced. What’s more, closed courts mean that new cases are difficult or impossible to file. This leads to fewer papers that need to be served to individuals. Servers in particularly hard-hit areas have chosen to limit or shut down their activity, in order to avoid getting infected with the new coronavirus. Other servers have encountered serious difficulties while doing their tasks, as some of their clients are closed off during this period. For instance, universities, schools, or public organizations are temporarily closed. As the pandemic progresses, there is a lot of uncertainty in this sector – how will the future look like? When will the restrictions be lifted?
Protecting your process serving business during this period
Always get your information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from the coronavirus outbreak via reliable, official resources. These include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). There are also some basic measures you can implement in order to protect your business. Let’s take a closer look:
Stay at home as much as you can
Employees may be afraid to come to work, they may be sick or caring for sick family members. Keep in mind that schools and universities are shut down, and parents need to stay at home longer than before. Try to start a work-from-home program in your company, if possible. Law firms often have the resources of working remotely, and technology allows it – try to implement this type of work whenever possible. Ideally, you should train your employees about the new procedures, technology, and type of work you can handle remotely.
This is the perfect time to implement new technology in your company. For instance, cloud technology is a fabulous idea. Your business will have a guaranteed procedural continuity during any type of natural disaster or pandemic. Simply put, you can get work done even if your employees are staying at home, with minimal or no loss in productivity. Remote work also provides flexibility for your team – people can easily communicate and interact on important projects. In order to implement remote work, you will need easy access to the cloud, a reliable way to communicate, increased security, and excellent online storage. You’ll also need various video conferencing tools, like Zoom or Slack.
This is very important, especially if you continue to work from your office. Promote hygiene measures among your staff and any other visiting person or client. Educate them about proper hygiene (especially hygiene), cough etiquette, and social distancing measures. Remind them to not touch their face, their mouths, and maintain a distance of 5 feet between each other. Make sure you hang up signs that clearly lay out these new habits. Clean all surfaces and keep a supply of infection control supplies, like hand sanitizer, soap, or tissues.
Anticipate the worst
Prepare your business for a drop in business. The number of clients and jobs handled by process servers in Miami is already low, but cases are slowly picking back up again. On September 1st, the eviction and foreclosure moratorium might elapse and this can increase the workload. However, as local courts open up, new jobs will be available, and they will need to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to these tasks. No matter what happens in the future, prepare for the worst that can happen – a total reduction in workload. Think about what you can do to reduce costs or handle staff shortages. Consult with a good HR specialist to handle this problem efficiently.
Make sure you communicate daily with your staff and clients. Be open about the situation, look for solutions, and don’t hide the truth. This will help reduce stress, will make people understand the situation and new measures will be easier to implement. For instance, if you do not know how and when the business will return to normal, express this directly to your staff. Send regular updates and inform them about the ongoing situation. Also, be open to your other collaborators, clients, and defendants.
Implement new methods of handling the workload
Here are some new procedures you can implement during the pandemic:
- process server specialists should keep a distance of about 5 feet from the people they are serving
- process server specialists should keep hand sanitizer or tissues in their cars when delivering documents
- drop-ins and unannounced meetings should be limited, always call in advance and make an appointment, especially if you visit an office
- ask clients to use digital communication solutions – emails, instant messaging or other tools
- ask staff to work remotely, if possible; your employees should have notebook computers equipped with every tool they need in order to remain productive; all office staff should scheduled times throughout the day when they communicate with other team members; to-do lists, priorities, and other important tasks should be discussed as often as possible; communication should be excellent throughout the day, including talking and texting.