Magic circle firm Linklaters has told the Gazette that agile working is available to staff if they want it, as firms continue to come up with ways of offering job flexibility.

International firm Herbert Smith Freehills yesterday became the latest UK firm to announce an initiative aimed at giving staff more control over when, how and where they work.

Earlier this summer, the Gazette reported that DAC Beachcroft had created a work environment at its Leeds office where no-one was allocated a desk, while London firm Wedlake Bell also stated its commitment to moving away from what it called the ‘cellular office environment’.

A spokesperson for Linklaters said the firm is committed to a flexible approach to deciding where and when people work, subject to the needs of clients and colleagues, but stressed that a ‘one-size fits all’ policy does not work.

‘The only thing a policy can do is draw a line that makes it clear that because people have a variety of needs, the ethos around flexibility is one that the business supports,’ she said.

The firm has around 7% of staff working flexibly, with a formal element of this arrangement built into their contracts.

In London the firm has tested a formal agile working arrangement to break down preconceptions allowing anyone who wished to do so to work one day a week from home.

‘Some did, some didn’t, but the option was open to all, talked about and championed.  Since this pilot we have had other groups adopt this approach,' the firm said.  ‘We don’t look at progress in this area through the number of formal employee flexible arrangements that we put in place.’

Herbert Smith Freehills says it will implement agile working across all London practice groups following the success of its ‘early adopter’ initiative started earlier this year.

This seeks to incorporate contractual flexible working arrangements within the firm, as well as less formal agile working to give people more control over when, how and where they work on an ad hoc basis.

Almost nine out of 10 staff surveyed said the ability to work from home was somewhat or very important, and three-quarters said agile working enhanced productivity.

Ian Cox, managing partner for the UK and US, said: ‘By rolling agile working out to all the London fee-earning groups and giving people more control over when, where and how they work, we hope to encourage more openness to different ways of working and to create a more diverse range of role models who work flexibly in the business.'