Working from home can enhance productivity, a top lawyer says, but firms need to ensure they have a consistent framework in place.
Lawyers are focussing more on their own work life balance, according to a study of US law firms by Research and Markets. The study found 37.5 percent of lawyers in firms with between 25 and 49 lawyers say that they would like to work from home, even if working from home is viewed dimly by their colleagues. The study also found that the larger the firm, the greater percentage of billable hours logged at home.
According to Fiona Glendinning, chief experience officer at Minter Ellison, it’s about getting the balance right and encouraging flexibility in the workplace. The option to decide how and when they get a job done enhances the engagement of staff and ultimately feeds into the client experience.
“We’re trying to encourage them to consider how they can adopt flexibility in what they do weather its working from home, working out with a client; we’re open to all approaches,” she said.
Looking at the team as a whole is important in establishing a formal policy and creating consistency.
“I think it provides a consistent framework for everybody to access the ability to work from home and it provides everybody with the opportunity to be flexible,” said Glendinning.
She said Minter Ellison has found that a high performing team is one where communication exists and after building that culture, employees can work anywhere. She said the ability to work anywhere is particularly useful employees need to do a specific task and working from home will allow them to work without interruptions.
“I think it enhances productivity because it enables us to access the ability to do that when specific tasks that need to be done that are more suited to having that kind of environment,” Glendinning said. “People like to work from home if they’ve got a specific job or task they want to get done but they also enjoy the ability to come back into the office and interact with their colleagues.”
But not all lawyers feel they’re more productive at home. The study found that by a margin of nearly two-to-one, men felt that they were less productive when working at home. A slight majority of women said they felt more productive working from home, by a margin of eight-to-seven.