Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills is updating its agile working policy with an expectation that its people will work in the office for an average of 60% of their working time.
The 60% benchmark can be adjusted to suit each individual, team and situation. It will apply to partners, lawyers and business services roles, including PAs.
The policy will only apply once an office is physically open and operational, and physical distancing rules have been greatly relaxed or removed.
“Despite the pressure and worries of the pandemic, we know that many of our people have greatly valued the flexibility of how, where and when we work, gaining more time for their families, health and other commitments,” said CEO Justin D’Agostino.
“We also recognise that the office will remain an important place for connection, collaboration and learning, with clients and with each other.”
“By setting this benchmark for post-pandemic operations, we hope to give our people the flexibility to design a working pattern that suits them, their colleagues and our clients, and to offer some certainty in uncertain times.”
The policy is backed up with stringent information security, health and safety assessments for home working, and resources for wellbeing.
“We cannot predict with absolute certainty what the workplace will look like six months or even a year from now,” said Justin. “However, this new policy gives every part of our firm the freedom to start imagining and designing new ways of working as those workplace practices evolve.”
The 60% office working benchmark is an average figure and will be tailored to suit each individual, team and situation. Some may well be in the office more, others less, while some may need to come to the office every day depending on their role. Some may come to the office for critical phases of team projects, but then spend more time working from home during the weeks that follow.
Herbert Smith Freehills’ first agile working policy was adopted globally in 2018. The policy, and the technology investment that supported it, enabled the firm to move to remote working rapidly when the pandemic began. The original policy allowed everyone to work from home or another location for up to one day per week.