Flexible working revolution gains pace

Attitudes to flexible working have fast forwarded by 20 years in just a few months according to latest City firm to get on board

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The flexible working revolution is gaining pace as more big companies announce new policies in light of the Covid pandemic.

Global law firm Linklaters and City investment company Schroders are the latest to get on board. Both are to embed flexible working after the lockdown and associated working from home sped up attitudinal change.

Agility

Linklaters today unveiled an enhanced remote working policy with agility at its heart. Employees can work for home 20-50% of the time. However the company insists there are benefits from having people in an office so it is going for a hybrid approach with employees expected to spend some time at a workplace away from home.

Linklaters is also consulting with employees over the prospect of flexible start and finish times, modified daily hours and modified overall hours, to fit in with commitments outside of work. This is in addition to the formal flexible working policy that the organisation introduced in April 2019, where any employee regardless of their time with the organisation, can request a flexible working pattern if they have a legitimate reason to do so.

Collaboration

Andrea Arosio, managing partner at Linklaters, said: “The coronavirus pandemic and our enforced remote-working experiment has given us an opportunity to take stock and revisit how we approach agile and remote working. Our recent experience has demonstrated that, while we are a people-focused business and collaboration is key, remote working has worked remarkably well and we can deliver high-quality work whilst working remotely.

“Conversely, it has also reinforced the huge benefits we and our clients obtain from face-to-face interaction and the value of our offices as hubs of teamwork and learning and this policy does not detract from that.

“Being agile is essential to our business, meeting the needs of our people and our clients. We are committed to fostering our agile culture which encourages our people to develop working arrangements which suit their needs along with those of the firm and our clients.”

Free

Meanwhile Schroeders has thrown out the concept of fixed hours and workplace. They moved to make homeworking ‘the norm rather than the exception’. Teams and employees will be free to choose how, where and when they work as long as the needs of clients and the company are met.

However they also stressed that face-to-face meetings will have a role and they will maintain offices.

Attitudes

Emma Holden, Schroders’ Global Head of Human Resources, commented: “Schroders embraced flexible working long before lockdown and the investments we have made in remote working technology over the years meant our business has not missed a beat since March. But in the space of a few months, we have made 20 years progress in attitudes towards flexible working, and we are going to continue with this momentum.

“We believe re-thinking the rulebook on flexibility will ultimately prove a huge shot in the arm for Schroders’ productivity in the long term, while also highlighting Schroders as a forward-thinking employer of choice.”





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