17 Aug Will the Mass Exodus see the Mass Return?
Value-based working infrastructure and remuneration
A mass exodus of many cities and towns around the world occurred in March 2020 when the globe was introduced to covid-19. Governments, wanting to protect people and health services, told us to work from home, work at home and do not commute! If you weren’t already set up to work from home, you got set up very quickly.
Video meetings with multiple attendees became normal, with software allowing varying levels of interaction, breakout rooms and document sharing. Getting up later but being at the ‘desk’ at the same time as before. ‘Arriving home’ earlier without reducing working hours as there was no commute. They soon realised that they could do the same amount of work but be ‘at home’ for longer.
As we return to ‘normal’ what does the future hold for the law firm office? Will we now see conflict between what law firm owners want and what the staff want? Will managing remote fee earners be more difficult or will law firm owners need to adopt a different approach to supervision and incentivisation to keep good members of staff?
Law firm owners – The tradition way of managing a law firm was to have everyone physically in the office, 9 to 5, sitting in departments, headed by a Partner. To a certain extent this was more to do with what the Partner wanted rather than being the best way to gain the most from the staff.
Staff – Having now worked from home for a considerable time staff members have enjoyed a much greater degree of flexibility and flexibility is far more valuable than most people realise.
Infrastructure costs – There has been calls for a hybrid situation where staff spend some of the week in the office and some of the week at home; however, this can be an expensive option as the firm must maintain the physical infrastructure to accommodate those who want to come in and can be left with expensive empty desks and offices. Hot desking can be an option but needs to be managed carefully.
Age and stage – Do younger members of staff use commuting and attending the office as part of their social life; they may not have the room at home for an office? Do older members of staff, who already have established friendship groups inside and outside of the office, like working from home because of flexibility?
Incentivisation/performance – A better way to deal with the situation is using a performance and incentivisation approach, which might mean a change in employment contracts and employee buy-in. Taking a strategic value-based approach is a win for everyone.
ASV Law takes a strategic value-based approach to the delivery of our legal services, internal infrastructure and polices.
Please contact ASV Law firstname.lastname@example.org now for more information should you need assistance on the laws surrounding returning to the office in the most efficient and cost-effective way.