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Adapting to Change: The Benefits and Challenges of Hybrid Working in the Legal Profession

In recent years, the legal profession has remained resistant to change. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many law firms to rethink their traditional ways of working. As a result, we can see that hybrid working has now become increasingly popular in the legal sector.

In this blog, we will explore what hybrid working is, the benefits and challenges it presents to the legal profession, and what legal firms can do to ensure its successful implementation.

What is Hybrid Working?

Hybrid working is a model of work that combines both remote and in-office work. This allows employees to have more flexibility in their work arrangements and to better balance their work and personal lives.

Benefits of Hybrid Working in the Legal Profession

Increased Productivity

Hybrid working has been shown to increase productivity as employees have more autonomy over their work schedule. Studies have shown that employees who work from home are more productive as they are less likely to be interrupted by colleagues or distractions in the office.

Improved Work-Life Balance

The legal profession is notorious for its long hours and high-pressure environment. Hybrid working can help to improve work-life balance, allowing employees to work flexible hours and avoid long commutes. This can lead to a happier and more motivated workforce.

Cost Savings

Hybrid working can help legal firms save money on office space, utilities and other overhead costs. This can be particularly beneficial for small to medium-sized firms that may struggle with high office rental costs.

Challenges of Hybrid Working in the Legal Profession

While hybrid working presents several benefits to the legal profession, it also presents several challenges, including:

Maintaining Communication

Effective communication is critical in the legal profession, and hybrid working can make it challenging to maintain good communication between team members. Legal firms need to find ways to ensure that communication remains open and effective, such as regular video meetings and project management tools.

Maintaining Security

The legal profession deals with sensitive and confidential information, and hybrid working can increase the risk of security breaches. Legal firms need to ensure that their remote working policies and procedures are robust and that the IT infrastructure is secure.

Maintaining Team Cohesion

Working remotely can be isolating, and it can be challenging to maintain team cohesion when employees are working in different locations. Legal firms need to find ways to maintain team cohesion, such as regular team-building activities and social events.

Despite the challenges, hybrid working is a model of work that is here to stay. At Bailey Hunter, we are finding most candidates are now asking for this when seeking a new role. And as the legal profession continues to evolve, hybrid working is only likely to become even more popular.

Tips for law firms that are considering implementing a hybrid working model

Set clear expectations from the outset. 

It is important to set clear expectations for employees who will be working hybrid. Some firms specify this only applies once a new staff member has completed their probation period (3 or 6 months). Include expectations for when they will be in the office, how they will communicate with colleagues, and how they will collaborate on projects.

Provide the right tools and technology. 

Employees who are working remotely need to have access to the same tools and technology as they do when they are in the office. This includes things like laptops, software, and internet access.

Create a culture of trust and communication

Employees need to feel comfortable communicating with their colleagues, even when they are not in the same physical space.

Provide training and support

Employees who are new to hybrid working may need training on how to use the tools and technology that they will be using. They may also need support in managing their time and staying organised.

Monitor and evaluate the results

It is important to monitor and evaluate the results of your hybrid working model to ensure that it is meeting your needs. This includes tracking things like employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention.

Maintaining Regular Communication

Legal firms need to maintain regular communication with their employees, particularly those working remotely. This can include regular team meetings, one-to-one catch-ups and feedback sessions.

Hybrid working can be a great way to improve the work-life balance of your employees, attract new employees and boost productivity. Following these tips will hopefully help you create a successful hybrid working model.

Our website offers numerous opportunities for hybrid working. If you’re searching for a new job, take a look at our latest vacancies where you can find roles that offer the option of hybrid working, as considered by employers.

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