On my recent trip to London and the Channel Islands a recurring topic of conversation with clients was flexible working. While it is a term that has been around for a while it seems there is growing momentum among offshore law firms to formalise their informal working arrangements.
Perhaps offshore law firms have been implementing forms of flexible working for years. By definition their business is international and more often than not involves working with clients and colleagues across the globe and firms have utilized various technologies to enable this to happen.
Work life balance has also long been seen as part and parcel of living and working offshore. The physicality of most of the islands we recruit into also makes life very convenient. If you need to go and do the school run, chances are it is no more than a 10 minute journey. Short commute times mean most people relocating reclaim a couple of hours each day to spend time with their families or pursue hobbies and interests. So maybe offshore employers haven’t felt the need define their flexible working policies and procedures. It would seem that times are changing.
This may born out of the ongoing war for talent and the need to attract and retain the best people, a genuine interest in employee wellbeing, firms looking for productivity gains or simply meeting what seems to be a growing expectation among a younger generation that flexible working is the norm, whatever the drivers are I think it is a safe bet that we will see an increase in flexible working arrangements. Despite potential immigration or work permit issues we will see more part time roles, job sharing, flextime, working from home or mobile working, international transfers and
secondments. Indeed we are already seeing some clients implementing these practices.
Practicing law is however ultimately about people, communications and relationships. The technology to support flexible working is the easy part and already exists in the majority of law firms. The big challenge for offshore law firms will be to ensure a level of personal contact to not only maintain levels of client service but to make sure that new recruits and junior lawyers learn from more experienced members of the team by being around them.
It is undoubtedly positive that offshore firms are looking to embrace new technologies and methods of working and it will be interesting to see the impact on corporate cultures, employee engagement, recruitment and retention going forward.
Feel free to contact us at Highbury Consulting to discuss any of your recruitment needs
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