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Employment law for employers

Hybrid working – it’s all about balance…

Firms face a challenge in setting out policies that are both fair, attractive to staff for retention and recruitment purposes, and workable in practice.

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London-based international law firm Stephenson Harwood have hit the headlines this week with the introduction of a new policy under which staff below partner level can choose to work remotely full-time in return for a sacrifice of 20% of their salaries. The new offer is in addition to the firm’s existing hybrid-working policy, under which staff can choose to work remotely for up to two days a week. The firm has said the existing hybrid policy works well for the majority of staff, and it is thought that take-up of full time remote working may in fact be relatively low – particularly among trainee solicitors and junior staff.

The move raises interesting questions about the development and dynamic, in a post-pandemic world, of workforces split between those working at home permanently, and those coming into the office in line with traditional working practices, albeit on a more agile basis. Firms face a challenge in setting out policies that are both fair, attractive to staff for retention and recruitment purposes, and workable in practice.

The decision whether to work more from home or in the office is difficult for many employees, especially if it entails a salary reduction. If an employee were to choose to work from home for less salary, while they may save on travel and other costs, will they also be disadvantaged by being less ‘visible’ and perhaps overlooked for promotion? However, many have enjoyed working from home with improved mental health and a better work/life balance, which could be deciding factors.

We will be considering these issues and more in our one-hour webinar The Future of Work and Managing a Hybrid Workforce on 12 May 2022 at 11am.

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Tania Goodman

Partner - Head of Employment

tania.goodman@collyerbristow.com



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