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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has begun a pilot scheme to allow associates to take advantage of a suite of alternative working arrangements, including job-sharing, as part of its ongoing employee engagement programme.
The scheme is being piloted in the London corporate department, with the firm potentially looking to roll it out more widely next year.
Associates in the corporate team can apply to job share with colleagues who also want to work reduced weeks. They can also choose to work off-site on a regular basis, whether from home or another Freshfields office.
The other option is for associates to enter into a ‘buddy’ arrangement, through which they can cover for colleagues who need time off for personal or other reasons.
Meanwhile, female associates can opt for a maternity phasing arrangement that would see them work consistent hours from pregnancy up until six months after the end of their maternity leave. During this time, associates will be taken off client work and become more involved in less time-critical operations.
In addition to the set of arrangements laid out by the firm, the bespoke scheme can see associates submit ideas for their own flexible working arrangements.
The pilot project is being led by London corporate chief Mark Rawlinson.
He said: “I thought it’d be a good thing to try in a big transactional practice because if we could make it work, anyone could.”
The project was launched following a presentation to corporate associates last week. Rawlinson added that his department was “going out on a limb” by introducing the scheme but said other departments would be looking to follow the lead.
“Other people will wait and see what happens,” he commented. “If it works well then during the course of next year other departments would look to take part.”