We’ve embraced hybrid work, and it’s done businesses and employees good. Those who work remotely (even just from time to time) feel 24% more productive and happy.
However, just because law firms have adopted hybrid work, that doesn’t mean they’re fully prepared for it. Work is different when teams aren’t physically together, and your processes need to reflect and support that.
In the summer, 88% of hybrid workers plan to work somewhere else, whether that’s in the UK or abroad. What challenges could your firm face with hybrid work this summer?
Supervision and collaboration
When colleagues work in separate places, they very easily lose the casual interactions that give projects momentum. The passing conversations that happen in the office allow teams to ask questions and make remarks that are informal yet useful.
A friendly check-in or reminder in person is a perfectly natural interaction, but someone may not feel comfortable writing out and sending the very same question or request. It could feel like micromanagement, neediness, or even incompetence to send an email every time you would have made a passing remark or query. That’s not to mention the time it would take to write and send all of those messages.
According to YouGov, 60% of workers think they’re more productive working from home, and 62% of leaders think workers are at least as productive away from the office as they are when they’re there.
If there’s any concern about productivity, think first about how hybrid work is set up at your firm. Only 65% of workers think they have what they need to work effectively away from the office. If day-to-day collaboration isn’t as easy or common as it should be, then how could it be easier.
Consider also that junior members of staff might have fewer opportunities to learn by observation than they would in an office. How have you adapted your mentorship and training to hybrid work?
Practice managers might feel out of the loop when they can’t easily see all the work that’s happening and all the progress and development of cases. That makes their job harder. After all, how can you manage something that you can’t see?
It goes back to the lack of organic collaboration. It might be harder to do your job as a practice manager in a practice that’s scattered — it may be far easier to manage something that’s right in front of you, where you can approach and engage more people in less time.
Also, if remote workers are concerned that they may appear unproductive to their managers, then they may value visible work over effective work. A culture of presenteeism, which doesn’t do any favours for efficiency or productivity.