A DACB lawyer makes his choice
DAC Beachcroft has announced that its staff in UK and Ireland can decide where, when and how they work, once the lockdown has lifted.
Under the firm's 'Flex Forward' scheme, staff can decide whether to work remotely full-time, or in the office, or opt for a hybrid. The firm is also relaxing set core hours, to give staff flexibility to choose when they work.
"If someone wants to start work early, carve out an hour to go to the gym and another hour to do the school pick-up, all while working from home, Flex Forward supports that," said the firm's Managing Partner David Pollitt.
"We trust our colleagues to find their own balance and we want them to have the flexibility to design a life that works for them," said Pollitt. "The future of work is changing and so must we." The firm is also looking at how its offices will change due to the new working patterns.
The firm is adopting the scheme after gathering feedback from staff and clients. A statement by the firm said the approach is underpinned by three principles: "Meeting client demands, collaborating as a team, and delivering the outputs of each individual’s role."
DACB's scheme will be one of the most flexible offerings by a City law firm. An uber-flexible model has been a success at Keystone Law, which was crowned RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2021. Built on principles of remote working, keep-what-you-kill and work-when-you-like, Keystone's unorthodox structure appeared designed for a Covid-afflicted landscape.
Other firms that are beginning to embrace some form of flexible working include Linklaters, Freshfields and Norton Rose Fulbright which are permitting employees to work remotely for up to 50% of their time. While Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills have set up long-term WFH policies to allow staff to work from home for up to 40% of the time.
In RollOnFriday's survey of over 2,500 staff in law firms, 44% of respondents said that in the long-term, they only want to work in the office for just one or two days a week. Another 10% said they didn't want to go back to the office at all. Only 10% said their preference was to eventually return full-time.
The forced absence from the office has permanently broken many people's tether to the office. As one respondent to RollOnFriday's survey put it: "Offices seem so 20th century now". A follow-up survey by RollOnFriday revealed that over 50% of lawyers would swap firms if they couldn't work from home.
However, some lawyers have found that homeworking can result in longer, more unpredictable hours, as they are expected to be on call more than ever before.