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Can I really work remotely?

Can I really work remotely?

By Sharon Henderson

Communication Technology Time Management Workplace 

Even conservative legal firms are shifting to offer flexible working arrangements for professional staff. This transformative shift is having positive outcomes for mental health, work-life balance and productivity. Over the past five years, Legal People has seen a substantial increase in the number of flexible working arrangements being offered to our lawyer candidates. Some time ago, remote working and other flexible work practices might have been something enjoyed by established long-term employees. It was difficult for a new recruit to be able to secure flexible working arrangements with a new employer. Now my team often see candidates with a working arrangement wish list. We help them negotiate arrangements with our clients, many of whom are employers of choice. As many as 25 per cent of the lawyers we have placed in the last financial year have gone into flexible work arrangements. In 2017/2018 this figure was only 9 per cent. I have found that firms of all types are considering flexibility in the right circumstances. Currently this has mostly related to mid to senior professional staff, say senior associate and above. At other levels we are not seeing the same interest from our candidates in flexible arrangements. Why are firms offering flexibility? Cloud-based technology allows both data security and easy communications. It is a talent attraction policy. Firms are finding a positive impact on staff mental health and wellbeing. It adds to employee engagement. What are candidates asking for? We are finding a mix of requests relating to remote working. It is embraced by men and women. Some of the reasons for asking for remote or flexible conditions are: caring for children or elderly relatives further study volunteering board opportunities staggered start and finish times to avoid peak travel commute.

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