Nabarro has permanently launched agile working across its business following a trial that found 92 per cent of people felt they were more productive when working at home.
The programme has now been rolled out across Nabarro’s UK offices and allows fee-earners the opportunity to work from home one day a week.
The scheme was originally tested over a three month period, which involved 100 partners and associates from Nabarro’s commercial litigation, corporate, employment, environment, EU and competition, planning and real estate practice groups.
Of those eligible to take part in the trial 66 per cent of people chose to work from home. The trial proved popular with staff with 38 per cent of fee-earners believing the trial had a positive impact on their work/life balance while 58 per cent said it made a strong positive difference.
Feedback from the trial found that this positivity was due to people being able to carry out small personal matters such as dentist appointments during the day without it affecting their work. Those involved also found they were interrupted less and were able to work longer hours as they did not need to travel to and from their office.
Despite the increased number of people working from home Nabarro senior partner Graham Stedman has noticed no fall in productivity from the firm’s fee-earners.
Stedman said: “As far as we can see there’s been no change, which is encouraging. You might think that if people are working from home in an agile way you might have some sort of leakage there in terms of hours worked but that hasn’t really happened. As far as we can see it’s been business as usual.”
To make sure that its agile working staff are able to work effectively Nabarro has provided its fee-earners with Cisco office phones, which can be installed at home. The firm has also provided staff with iPhones and Blackberries so that fee-earners can speak to colleagues using video conferencing software Jabber.
The technology allowed those working from home to be as easily reached on their office telephone numbers. Feedback also found that clients did not mind the change in their lawyer’s working habits with 89 per cent of fee-earners receiving no comments about them working from home. The remaining 11 per cent of people received positive comments from their clients.
The only downside of the trial was that 65 per cent of participants admitted they had cancelled an agreed home working day for business reasons. However, Stedman said that this was because it was important that the firm’s clients’ business came first and that fee-earners were able to reschedule their home working days if needed.
Nabarro is the latest firm to introduce agile working into its business after Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) made its scheme permanent in August. HSF adopted the programme across all its London offices after a similar three-month trial showed positive results. Of those involved only 3 per cent experienced negative responses from their teams.
Foot Anstey has also announced its intentions to promote flexible working. The South West firm has already introduced a ‘warm-desking’ pilot in its Bristol office and hopes the adoption of flexible working will reduce the firm’s costs and help attract talent to the business.