Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home and communicating and collaborating via real-time communication tools has become the norm for many law firms and offices.
The benefits of such arrangements are obvious. People can be safe and secure in their homes while maintaining their productivity and availability. Plus, no more lengthy commutes means that people get back hours of their day that they would otherwise lose being stuck in traffic or sitting on a train. Some firms and offices even took the opportunity to decrease their real estate footprint, saving them money in the long run. Many experts and even firm leaders figured that there was no going back, and that virtual or hybrid arrangements were here to stay.
However, some firms, including several of the largest in the country, have begged to differ. Citing a need to maintain or preserve office culture and strengthen personal connections, these firms are now mandating at least four days in the office per week.
Several other sectors, particularly the finance industry, are doing the same. Even Zoom, one of the key pieces of technology that allowed so many industries to go virtual, has demanded that its employees return to the office, according to the New York Times.
So is it only a matter of time before we’re back to being physically present in the office at least five times per week? Or will the virtual or hybrid arrangements that have taken hold be as resilient as the billable hour?
In this episode of the Legal Rebels Podcast, Mark Klender, vice president of client engagement at Harbor Global (formerly HBR Consulting) talks with the ABA Journal’s Victor Li about the future of remote working, how firms can promote and maintain their culture if large numbers of their lawyers aren’t coming to the office, and other changes that have taken hold in the legal industry.