By Anastasia Pozynich
Today the new norm looks a bit different. As businesses head into the coming year, workforces have to contend with the fact that they were primarily operating at home or remotely and now will take on the new norm which is some form of hybrid working.
73% of all Industries want to have hybrid remote working options by 2028.
Free ebook Lawyer’s Work and Productivity in a New Normal.
Hybrid working typically includes employees working at home for two or three days at a time and then heading into the office for the remainder of the work week. Hybrid designs help capitalize on personal preferences while still providing employees with the opportunity to get social interaction with their co-workers that simply can't be achieved with a virtual meeting. As it stands, 63% of high revenue growth companies are already using a hybrid work model.
Recent studies indicate that 48% of employees still want to work remotely.
Keeping Costs Low with the Hybrid Work Model
Recent data from the Remote Work and Compensation Pulse Survey found that businesses can keep costs low using a hybrid work model if they plan accordingly, doing away with unnecessary duplication for devices like computers. Instead of investing in a set of computers that remain in the office, unused most of the time and a set of private laptops for employees to work from home, businesses can keep their costs low by getting rid of some of the work computers and only providing enough for the number of employees who are in the office 2 or 3 days per week or requiring employees to bring the company laptop with them when they go to and from working from home and working in the office.
The number of remote workers over the last fourteen years has increased 173%.
The additional benefit is that having fewer employees in the office can open companies up to a world of savings when it comes to rent. Companies can lease less space or lease out what space they aren’t using. Tangentially, companies that keep office computers and offices open but don't use them can rent those individual spaces out to freelancers or other smaller companies looking for additional work space.
Hybrid solutions as the new norm help alleviate burnout and concurrently increase productivity. Studies have found that employers in the US on average lose 1.8 trillion dollars because of a lack of productivity brought about by health issues or distractions at work. Hybrid solutions can give people the opportunity to work when they are most focused, most dedicated and still get the job done.
For example: many European countries are implementing nationwide trials such as Iceland and Spain to convert the workday to 4 days while also still utilizing hybrid working structures. Results are at the nationwide stage because of their success with smaller trials and demographics. Providing people with an extra day off and work from home opportunities allows individuals to do things like go grocery shopping in the middle of the afternoon in between two for our work segments rather than trying to get it all done on a busy Saturday. It also gives families the opportunity to take more breaks if they're feeling a little down, work when the first signs of a cold or sore throat are present without having to put the office at risk, and find time for their families all while ensuring the work gets done. Results have shown a positive response in productivity and cost savings for the companies involved.
In fact, 61% of business owners have noted that telecommuting and hybrid options have increased their company profits. Moreover, 83% of entrepreneurs have noted increased productivity because of flexible hours. Of many individuals utilizing the work from home hybrid solution, 30% of those people who would otherwise be telecommuting are able to accomplish more in a more limited amount of time.
The Legal Case Study: Hanson Bridgett
Hanson Bridgett located on Market Street in San Francisco was dealing with a lease problem: they had 3 floors of their building at a cost of $1.6 million per floor and because they needed to make room in the budget they were trying to find a way to give up one of those floors.
18 percent of global employees already work remotely full-time.
A trial, as it were, which represented a cross-section of firm including new associates, members of individual practices, and senior partners who opted to:
Share offices with other lawyers
Rotate their office time to at-home time
And in the case of many, work mainly from home and use a hotel-like reservation system when they needed a desk in the office.
The goal was to use the cost savings to attract and retain new associates so that they could become a more competitive firm.
After a 6 month trial the firm discovered that productivity rose significantly in large part thanks to the alleviation of commuting hours. Billable hours went up and so, too, did the firm’s profits.
44% of employees in a recent study prefer some form of hybrid working where they can be at home and in the office.
Stage 2 commenced.
All employees were asked which version of the above options they wanted to try. With more people working from home, investments were made in improved laptops and VPN’s for at-home workers. Everything was digitized and moved to the cloud. Regular in person meetings were held to maintain the culture of the firm and ensure there was transparency in all things, so that no one failed to pull their weight.
Lessons Learned for Implementing a Hybrid Work Model
Perhaps the most impressive aspect was that this was begun in January 2018 so by the time the pandemic hit, the pilot already provided the law firm with the lessons they needed to utilize a hybrid work model for legal professionals post Covid:
Always prioritize the office culture. It can be a big change for people to transition to a part-time remote or fully remote work center and it's easy for those people working at home to feel left out or for those people working in an office to believe that their counterparts aren't pulling their weight. There will be lots of activities or meetings required for in-person interaction to erase suspicions that not everyone is doing what they should, to build trust, and to make sure everyone feels connected.
Invest significantly in IT. planning for necessary solutions should not be an area where you cut corners. People working at home need the equipment to safely and effectively do so.
Be flexible with the hybrid arrangement you have. Some people may at first scoff at the idea of not having their own desk or office, their own place where they can put things and feel comfortable. Others may find it a difficult transition to work from home without being able to just pop their head into the office of a nearby associate to ask questions. Still there are some who will absolutely love it and never want to go back to the office. It is important for law firms to be cognizant of the fact that feelings toward different forms of hybrid work can change with time and experimentation and flexibility are necessary.
Overall, investing in hybrid work solutions is the way of the future and it brings with it. Benefits so long as companies are willing to plan accordingly.
This article is an extract of the free ebook Lawyer’s Work and Productivity in a New Normal. Written by Lawrina team and top legal innovators, this ebook contains 60+ pages of recent researches and brand-new approaches to lawyer’s work, productivity and effective communication in a post-pandemic.
The article is written by Anastasia Pozynich, Product Marketing Manager at Lawrina.