The amount of time solicitors are expected to spend in the office once lockdown is lifted has begun to creep up, as firms look to revitalise office life.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner will ask staff to work from the office for the majority of their time from 6 September, under a new flexible working policy. Each office will also designate a specific day of the week as a ‘BCLP team-up day’, where everyone is encouraged to attend work in-person.
‘In formulating these working principles, we have sought to balance a variety of needs and business priorities—all in line with our advance goals, including a desire to re-engage in and reinvigorate an office culture that supports teamwork…and professional development —an environment where we operate with high levels of trust, flexibility, and coordinate well with one another,’ a spokesperson for the firm said.
Meanwhile, Hogan Lovells will ask UK employees to spend at least 60% of the working week in the office from mid-September. UK managing partner Penny Angell said the firm is fully supportive of hybrid working, but cited the ‘considerable benefits’ of office-based working, such as collaboration, teamwork and knowledge sharing and training.
‘Subject to government guidance, and if our people wish to do so, we will be encouraging them to start to attend the office again over the summer and to reconnect with colleagues. However, our primary focus continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our people,’ she said.
The City’s approach to homeworking seems to have shifted as lockdown has progressed. Last year, Linklaters announced that staff will be allowed to work from home for up to half of the week, a position that was echoed by Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Taylor Wessing and Norton Rose Fulbright.
Meanwhile, Mishcon de Reya and Irwin Mitchell has told its staff they are free to work where and when they like, provided clients’ needs are catered for. In a similar vein, Shakespeare Martineau – under the name of the new legal and professional services group holding Ampa – says it ‘does not create policies for the sake of it and it’s not our culture to instigate rules’.
However, several City firms have since announced plans for staff to come into the office for at least three days a week, with trainees allowed just one day at home.