Major law firm allows employees to decide when and where they work


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Magic circle law firm Linklaters has announced it’s revamping its flexible working policy giving employees the opportunity to determine where they get their work done, without having to request permission.

Under the new global policy employees will be able to work remotely, for up to 20-50% of their time, as long it is communicated to teams in advance and operational roles are fulfilled.

The company said the agile policy captured lessons learned so far from remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic, reflecting that high-quality work can be delivered while working remotely. It has emphasised that the policy will apply beyond Covid-19 restrictions and offices will continue to follow the most recent Covid-19 guidance applicable in their jurisdiction on returning to the office.

Linklaters has 30 offices in 20 countries and will apply the new policy globally. In the UK it has two offices: in London (its global HQ) and Colchester. The firm stated that the policy was designed to allow local flexibility, with partners, business team leaders and HR managers implementing the policy within local offices’ existing agile working plans.

The firm said it was discussing with all employees over how individuals might want the agile policy to apply to them as they return or consider returning to the office. This could mean flexible start and finish times, modified daily core hours and modified hours for commitments outside of work.

It told Personnel Today that it was not its intention to take the opportunity presented by smaller numbers travelling into work to close any offices.

Agile working arrangements had already been adopted by many lawyers and business teams, Linklaters stated, but the aim was now to ensure “greater consistency across offices, driving forwards our commitment to being an employer of choice for working parents and to advance gender equality both in the workplace and at home”. 

The remodelled policy followed key changes to the firm’s UK formal flexible working policy enabling any employee to request a formal flexible working arrangement, no matter how long they have been employed by the firm, without having to explain the reasons for their request.

Andrea Arosio, managing partner of Linklaters in Italy and member of Linklaters’ Global People Committee, emphasised that the policy did not detract from the vital importance of face-to-face contact: “The Covid-19 pandemic and our enforced remote working experiment has given us an opportunity to take stock and revisit how we approach agile and remote working. Our recent experience has demonstrated that, while we are a people-focused business and collaboration is key, remote working has worked remarkably well and we can deliver high quality work while working remotely.

“Conversely, it has also reinforced the huge benefits we and our clients obtain from face-to-face interaction and the value of our offices as hubs of teamwork and learning and this policy does not detract from that.

“Being agile is essential to our business, meeting the needs of our people and our clients. We are committed to fostering our agile culture which encourages our people develop working arrangements which suit their needs along with those of the firm and our clients.”

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