Flexible working needs rebrand, says president

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The president of the Law Society will today call for a rethink of flexible working to make law firms and other businesses more attractive to women - and men.

Delivering the keynote speech at an International Women's Day event to a London audience of lawyers, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff is to say that employers and employees lose out on innovation and creativity when staff are required to adhere to a 9-to-5 work day.

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She will say: ‘Flexible working needs a rebrand. The discussion around it has gone down the wrong route.

‘It's not helpful when people like [Yahoo chief executive] Marissa Mayer opine that flexible working "prevents staff from being productive". That’s just not true.

‘The Power Part Time Top 50 featured six senior partners at law firms, one of who had achieved one of his - yes, his - highest billing performances after going part time.

‘It's not just working mothers who want to work flexibly. Many men will work harder and better if their employer doesn't force them to choose work over family responsibilities. Others would prefer to put the hours in when they are most productive, or to spend less valuable time on their commute.

‘What employees actually need is support in being agile. Agile working is all about speed and effectiveness - things any firm will value. Firms should see flexible working less as a benefit to their staff and more as a benefit to the business – a way of helping their teams become more productive and more creative.

‘Employers who encourage their staff to adopt an agile approach to their work will be the ones who win the talent war.’

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