Choose ‘where and when you work’, Irwin Mitchell tells lawyers

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By Thomas Connelly on

National firm set to transform offices into ‘collaborative working hubs’ as part of post-Covid plans

Irwin Mitchell has become the latest law firm to reveal its post-Covid working plans, with the national giant telling its lawyers and staff they can decide where and when they work, subject to their role and client work being completed effectively.

The Sheffield-headquartered outfit said the decision followed research among both colleagues and clients to establish the best approach to working in the future, with the majority preferring a “hybrid approach” that sees staff split their time between the office and home.

The firm said it expected its 15 offices to be running at 50% capacity from 21 June — the date England’s coronavirus lockdown is due to end, if strict conditions are met — but that they would transform into new “collaborative working” hubs to reflect the more flexible approach to life as lawyer.

Susana Berlevy, chief people officer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic how much colleagues have embraced working from home and have appreciated being able to work flexibly around their lives. From listening to our colleagues we anticipate most people to take up hybrid working patterns with time split between offices and home. There will also be some roles which are office based due to the nature of the work they do, and we expect some people will wish to work from home full-time.”

She added: “It’s crucial that we trust our colleagues to make the best choice for themselves, the other colleagues in their teams and their clients in how they decide to work in future. We know wellbeing is also an important consideration, we’re building this into our policies and we also have extensive resources available to help our colleagues to build their resilience and overcome any challenges they face.”

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A raft of law firms have offered up similar flexible policies as the profession looks to adjust to a new way of working in the post-vaccine world.

Lawyers and staff at Herbert Smith Freehills have been told they can come into the office just 60% of the time, while Linklaters‘ lot now have the option to work remotely for up to 50% of the working week as part of a new long-term global policy. Fellow MC players Allen & Overy and Freshfields have also gone public with similar flexi-working initiatives in recent months.

Elsewhere, Squire Patton Boggs announced recently it was abolishing “core hours” so it can offer lawyers and staff greater flexibility with start and finish times, while DAC Beachcroft confirmed its colleagues could work from the office, from home or a mix of the two, and select the times they work across the day and week.

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