This week at Above the Law, I wrote about making sure communications are considerate of all employees/staffers. While many employers have been on top of good communications from the start, I was struck in conversation after conversation how many were caught flat footed and with foot in mouth.

Even well-meaning leaders were creating problems for themselves by failing to consider how their messages and actions would sound to folks at all levels in their organizations:

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve joined a video lunch to talk about how legal services professionals around the world are continuing to work and continuing to find ways to communicate effectively during the global pandemic.

Early in discussions, it was clear there was an attorney/staff division at law firms. That’s wrong, but not so surprising. What I found galling is what little regard some firms had for support staff early on in the crisis and how the divide grew in the days that followed.

While many attorneys were allowed to work from home almost immediately, support staff were required to come into the office to retrieve, print, and ship documents to the lawyers working remotely. It’s also clear that while many firms worked hard to find ways to create flexible work environments for attorneys, those same firms haven’t done the same for their support staff.

Treating support staff as second-class citizens is a mistake. And how firms communicate with and treat their workers — all workers — will define them and reverberate for months and years to come.

Read the full piece with tips here.