'Yes, my fee-earners, yes.'
All staff at Squire Patton Boggs will be required to come in to the office on Thursdays after management announced it was tightening up its flexible working policy.
Jonathan Jones, SPB's European Managing Partner, unveiled 'all-in Thursdays' as he spoke to staff about their new working arrangements this week.
The firm's dose of enforced IRL working will be super-charged thanks to management's aim for part-time employees who don't normally work on Thursdays to swap their day off so that they, too, can see what the office looks like when it's full.
A source told RollOnFriday that Jones "didn’t say why this draconian change had been introduced but did say it was mandatory and would be strictly monitored".
A spokesperson for SPB told RollOnFriday, "Our people have expressed that they enjoy being together and appreciate the benefits that come from in-office collaboration, supervision and mentoring. Taking this all into consideration, we have decided to institute an ‘all-in’ day every Thursday, which we understand works for a majority of people".
He added that any change to pre-existing working arrangements "would be subject to discussion with that individual’s manager to assure that person’s needs are met".
A lawyer at the firm alleged that when someone from the Birmingham office asked Jones if SPB was as competitive as firms which did not require employees to come into the office at all, Jones told the WFH-loving oik to "go and work for one of those firms instead then". SPB said the quote attributed to Jones was both inaccurate and out-of-context, but declined to explain how.
A source called 'all-in Thursday' an "absolute outrage", adding that they were "really shocked at this tightening of the so-called flexible working policy - hardly flexible now if you are forcing everyone into the office no matter what".
Although plenty of lawyers insist they are at least as efficient at home as at work, and that their firms lose nothing if they don't come in, some Managing Partners have told RollOnFriday that productivity has fallen significantly as a result of WFH. They claim they need associates under one roof, and not just so they rebuild the bonds between them - they also want lawyers to start earning more to justify the massive pay rises which firms handed out to keep hold of them.