A hybrid approach that balances the best of home-based working with the aspects people have missed about working together in the office is here to stay says leading Thames Valley law firm Blandy & Blandy’s joint managing partner, Tim Clark.
The firm, which has 100 people and offices in Reading and Henley-on-Thames, is preparing for colleagues to be able to spend up to 50% of their working time outside of the office environment, whether at home or otherwise. This will coincide with the country’s scheduled release from restrictions at the end of June, as people across the UK begin to return to their workplaces for the first time in many months.
Clark, who is an experienced Employment lawyer, explained: “We have learnt a lot in the past 12 months about how we can maintain the high standard of legal advice and service that our reputation is built on while offering greater flexibility to both clients and colleagues.
There is very much a place for the office in the future and we have all missed the opportunities and interactions which office-based working facilitates. However, we believe that a balance between office-based working and working from home, or elsewhere, will actually improve the service which we can offer to clients, by ensuring that our colleagues are able to be flexible and agile in the way they deliver that service.
By providing people with flexibility, we firmly believe that we will ensure we have a happy, healthy workforce and are best placed to attract and retain talented colleagues. That is crucial to ensuring that we serve our clients well, now and in the future.”
On 6 May, the BBC published the results of its recent study, which found that 43 of the UK’s largest companies, collectively employing 1.1 million workers, will introduce a mix of office and home working when the government’s guidance changes in June. The report indicated that employees will typically spend two to three days a week working from home.
Clark continued: “The past year has seen us further extend and enhance our IT capabilities, allowing our entire team to work and communicate remotely from anywhere. What we have achieved has been reflected in the excellent client feedback which our team has received, during what has undoubtedly been a challenging period. The future, of course, offers the prospect of combining what we have learnt with what we have missed about working together in person.
Alongside our colleagues, many clients have also embraced this change. We will always be ready to offer in person meetings – sometimes there is no substitute for this - but we expect that a reasonable proportion of client appointments will continue to take place virtually going forward. I think the key word is flexibility – as ever, we are here to respond to our clients’ needs and expectations and we continue to evolve our offering and how services are delivered in response.
While our own recent survey found that a high proportion of our staff appreciate and benefit from the ability to work from home, it also highlighted that it is not something that colleagues generally want to do exclusively. Reading and Henley are fantastic towns in which to work and professional communities to be a part of and we believe that this hybrid approach will provide everyone with the best of both worlds.”
For further information and legal advice, please visit www.blandy.co.uk.