More time to pursue other interests and hobbies.
Slaughter and May is piloting a series of part-time working schemes, which will include allowing solicitors to reduce their hours by up to 20%, or job share.
'Switch on/off', may sound like an eco-friendly push to save electricity, but it's the name coined by the Magic Circle firm to allow lawyers to cut their working time by up to 20%, by booking off chunks of predetermined unpaid leave.
In a statement about the scheme, Slaughter and May said that parents could, for example, use the extra time-off to "align with school holidays". It added "this does not have to be the case" - so parents wanting to head to a remote island during term-term, free from their children, will also benefit from the scheme. 'Switch on/off' is "not limited to parents", confirmed the firm, allaying the fears of any singletons concerned they may need to procreate in order to qualify for extra holiday.
Another pilot scheme labelled as offering 'Project led flexibility' will also allow lawyers to cut their working time by up to 20%. Lawyers can take advantage of the additional unpaid leave when a project or matter comes to an end; which should allow them to don their sombrero for an extended break, as soon as the ink dries on the final signature page of a deal. When Sombrero time is over, lawyers will have to commit to working five days a week.
A third pilot scheme will allow associates to job share by working part-time on a weekly basis, with two associates teaming-up to cover one role. Under the scheme, the associates will each work 3 days a week, with one day where they overlap. The pairing could be two associates at the same level or a junior and senior associate.
Other City firms gearing up for a return to the office, have begun to set out various flexible options, with many firms including fellow Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Freshfields permitting staff to split their time 50/50 between the office and home. Allen & Overy has said that staff can work remotely for 40% of their time.
DAC Beachcroft and Irwin Mitchell have gone further and given staff the power to decide where, when and how they work. And Mishcon de Reya will also allow its staff to work where and when they like, subject to client and business needs.
"It is not our business how you organise your working time," said Mishcon's managing partner James Libson in an internal email, seen by RollOnFriday, which was sent in February this year. Libson said that staff could make the choice: "Deal with your emails at 6am, 10am or 9pm, spend time with your kids when they get home from school, head out for a run at 11am, walk your dog at 3pm – do whatever works best for your life."
"As long as the clients' needs are met and your colleagues are not adversely affected, you will be trusted to be responsible and to deliver what is expected of you," added Libson. "You can choose to do this between 9.30am and 5.30pm if you want, or you can flex to suit what works for you."