91% of solicitors want hybrid working arrangements

Law Society’s ‘The Future Way We Work’ report states ‘work/life balance’ as top priority for solicitors.

The Law Society of Ireland has published its The Future Way We Work report yesterday, Thursday 7 October. Produced by the Law Society’s Younger Members Committee, the report provides timely insights into solicitors’ experiences of working during the pandemic and their future work preferences.

Member of the Law Society’s Younger Members Committee, Maeve Delargy, said, “During the past 18 months, the work undertaken by solicitors to facilitate access to justice has remained as important as ever. However, the pandemic has changed the way we work, perhaps forever.”

“The purpose of the report is to gain a greater understanding of how solicitors wish to continue to work post Covid-19. Recognising that each firm and organisation has different needs, the Law Society encourages employers to review the recommendations outlined in the report to identify the appropriate initiatives that may be beneficial for their employees.”

Hybrid work

“The report has shown that 91% of solicitors would prefer some sort of hybrid working arrangement going forward, with 5% wanting to work at home full time and 4% preferring full-time office work. However, the findings highlighted personal wellbeing, training opportunities and career progression as areas of concern associated with on-going remote working,” explained Ms Delargy.

“The findings provide an opportunity to highlight the challenges and benefits associated with remote or hybrid working arrangements and to identify what additional supports are required for employers into the future.”

Key findings from the Law Society’s Future Way We Work report include:

  • 37% of respondents indicated that ‘work/life balance’ is their key priority for the future, followed by ‘flexible working arrangements’ at 30%.
  • 85% of women want some form of hybrid working compared to 77% of men.
  • 47% stated that they have worked more hours while working remotely.
  • 64% stated that the provision of remote working arrangements would influence whether they will remain with their organisation/employer.
  • 70% of respondents cited feelings of isolation from colleagues as a challenge with working remotely. These feelings were more pronounced among respondents working in larger organisations (73%) compared to those working in small organisations (65%).
  • 73% and 65% respondents respectively stated that the mentoring of junior colleagues and learning from senior colleagues are notable challenges associated with remote working.

“Most solicitors reported experiencing benefits associated with remote working, including greater flexibility in managing family and care arrangements, increased productivity and reduced commuting costs,” said Ms Delargy.

“However, with high reports of feelings of isolation across all organisations sizes, wellbeing of staff should be a key priority for employers in any future remote working arrangement, particularly for recently qualified staff.”

“Our recommendations highlight that organisations should consider developing communication policies that would outline remote working expectations, but also importantly, provide assurances regarding training, development and career progression, which would help eliminate some key concerns revealed by solicitors in this report.”

Inclusive approach

“As we navigate towards the future way we work, there is ample opportunity to create mutually beneficial work environments for employers and employees. It is a chance to embrace change and carve out working conditions that are inclusive and considerate for all in the profession,” Ms Delargy added.

“We hope that employers will review these results and take a pragmatic approach to remote working going forward. This will be particularly important to help employers retain talented and valuable staff into the future,” she said.

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