Thanks to the advantages of technology, you have the ability to deliver more, better, and faster than ever before. Those advances in technology also offer a solution that many employees are eager to take advantage of: flexible working conditions, in which employees have the ability to work from home part or full time.
Are flexible working conditions the right solution for your legal practice? Whether you're tentatively in favour or concerned that flexible working conditions won't work for you, there are several key things to consider.
The Advantages of Flexible Working Conditions
With flexible working conditions, both you and your employees experience a number of important advantages.
Employees have better work/life balance. Working from home means that employees have the ability to set their own hours. Not only that, they can take care of home-related tasks, including waiting for package delivery or repairmen or taking care of sick children. Employees who work from home can also take the daily commute out of their schedules, giving them more time for themselves, which can lead to happier employees who are more committed to your practice.
Flexible working conditions can allow you to cut costs. You may not need as much office space, while your employees won't have to pay for the price of the commute: a win for everyone involved. You'll also find that in many cases, allowing flexible working conditions on at least a part-time basis decreases sick time. An employee who is ill won't come into the office and spread that illness to everyone else, but they may still complete their daily work responsibilities.
Your staff can work at the time when they're most productive. Staff members can dedicate those most productive hours of their day, whenever that might be for each individual, to taking care of work responsibilities, which can make it easier for them to keep up with work responsibilities.
Your staff will be more responsive to your clients. Since your staff can select their hours, you're more likely to have staff working when your clients need your firm most--and in many cases, staff members who work from home are more likely to check their emails or take care of work-related tasks even outside work hours.
The Disadvantages of Flexible Working Conditions
While there are numerous advantages to flexible working conditions, there are some potential disadvantages that you must consider before implementing this schedule for your practice.
Employees might not accurately report hours worked. Some employees, you can trust to handle the majority of their work tasks responsibly. Others, however, may not fairly report the time they've spent working and because they're not in the office, it can be harder to track.
Some employees aren't as productive from home. They may need higher levels of management, or a clearer schedule or plan, to make it possible for them to work effectively from home.
You may struggle with client treatment. You can't monitor employees directly, so you may not know how they interact with clients.
Some employees may struggle to separate work and home. When you work from home, it's harder to set aside work at the end of the day, which can make it difficult for some employees to balance those separate responsibilities.
Deciding whether to make flexible working conditions an option for your practice is a very personal, individual decision. Carefully think through both the advantages and disadvantages before making that important move. Make sure you consider how your practice operates and any important details of your daily operations that could impact your decision to allow employees to work from home. Remember that flexible work doesn't work for every business, but it could for yours.