2019 - Year of the flexi-working policy?
Flexi-working, working from home, condensed hours – whatever you want to call it, the discussion of shifting away from typical office working hours, and indeed office-bound working, is quite the prevalent discussion for HR professionals coming into 2019.
Traditionally, the concept of moving away from the 9-to-5 might not have worked in the legal industry, but with the rise of technology, the possibility of job-sharing, and part-time hours becoming much more normalised, why can’t flexi-working work for your firm?
The most important thing to ensure is that the firm continues to run as normal, and so, to keep disruption to a minimum, deliver clear communications to staff, and keep set boundaries; your first step is to put a flexi-working strategy, policy and usage guidelines in place. Keep it free from jargon, make it clear and accessible and ensure your staff knows of its existence.
When getting the documentation together, it is the firm’s opportunity to set clear limitations and opportunities. For example, one of our clients have a “Monday Meetings” rule, meaning those working remotely must try to be available for meetings on this day. It allows for expectations to be managed and kept.
It is also important that your firm understands flexi-working doesn’t just encompass where staff work, from but also includes when and how.
Creative types might be better in a busy creative environment of like-minded individuals, so will opt to use co-working spaces in the late afternoon, whereas more analytical team members appreciate the tranquillity of their own home at 6 AM before the day begins. Make sure your policy covers this.
There is, of course, a myriad of ways flexi-working requests might present themselves. Be sure to save yourself a lot of admin and hassle, by being clear in your policy about how staff request alternative shift patterns, change of working place or condensed hours.
You may come up against Partners who say flexi-working gives all the benefits to staff and none to the firm, and it’s important to point out the flaws in this argument earlier on.
If you can implement a decent flexi-working policy well, the benefits are never-ending. Internally, you can expect better performance from staff members, higher morale and a strong sense of loyalty to the firm who sees them as a person.
Externally, a flexi-working policy works as a great USP when attracting top talent and opens your market share of candidates. If you allow for job-sharing or remote working, older candidates with a wealth of experience may be interested, or you may appeal to a working parent that needs to do the school run but is happy to log on after the bedtime ritual for a couple of hours.
If you need support and advice with your flexi-working policy, get in touch with the team who will be happy to talk you through any ideas you have, and be able to guide you on policy implementation.
LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.