Firms across the City are preparing to send staff back to the office, with plans for temperature testing, face masks, one-way corridors and flexible start times.
Representatives from 14 of some of the UK’s largest practices gathered this month to develop return to work packages. The committee, which was convened by the Law Society, will meet every two weeks to exchange ideas and identify key issues to feed back to the government.
Transatlantic firm Hogan Lovells, which is not part of the Law Society group, said it is likely to ask staff to wear masks in common areas, to restrict the number of people in lifts and to implement physical distancing in meeting rooms. A rota system will mean that employees only come to the office on certain days of the week.
Meanwhile, Fieldfisher said only 10% of staff will return initially, gradually increasing to 25%. The firm plans to introduce a one-way walking system through corridors and between floors, and will allow flexible arrival and departure times to help staff avoid the rush hour. Temperature testing will also be available and the firm’s China office has donated a supply of face masks.
However, magic circle firm Allen & Overy said staff will continue to work from home for the coming weeks. Its offices are currently being arranged to facilitate social distancing. Clifford Chance, which is based in Canary Wharf, also had nothing to announce.
Despite tentative signs of a return to normality, City firms have continued to tighten their belts. Bird & Bird is the latest practice to freeze promotion and salary reviews, and only half of bonuses were paid out in May. The rest will be paid 'at a later date'.
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.