Australian commercial law firm is seeking to work out just how efficient the home workers really are. .
Australian commercial law firm Maddocks is planning to conduct a project to determine whether employees who work in the office are more effective and engaged compared to those who work from home.
Like many law firms, some of whom are increasingly pressing staffers to return to the office, there is a question mark over the efficiency of lawyers working from home.
The Maddocks survey will be carried out through the firm’s 2023 engagement survey, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.
Maddocks has adopted a 60 percent model, where employees work three out of five days from the office, similar to many law firms. Some lawyers have seen the idea of working permanently in an office as a dead concept.
Maddocks CEO, David Newman, said that attendance data would be analyzed to test some hypotheses. For example, the project aims to answer questions such as whether people feel more engaged if they attend the office more often, and how their engagement is impacted by those around them.
The survey will also analyze whether junior lawyers who attend the office more frequently are more engaged and optimistic about their career progression than those who work from home.
Flexible work options are increasingly popular in the law profession, according to recent surveys.
The data collected will determine how the remote working situation differs in terms of work engagement compared to office attendance. l
Newman stated that Maddocks had not had to enforce the 60 percent model, and attendance data for the second week of February showed more people in the Melbourne office than at any time since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
Newman told the AFR that people will come into the office if they have had a good experience, whether it’s from a social, learning, or opportunity perspective. The more people who come into the office, the more people will come in, creating a snowball effect.
He noted a change in mindset since Christmas, with more employees prioritizing the office as their first choice in the morning. Senior lawyers and partners, who were reluctant to come into the office during the pandemic, have also shown a marked change in attitude towards office attendance.
As with many firms in the US, UK and elsewhere, there have been attempts to entice workers to return to the office with new and often unique attractions (think Yoga, bee-keeping and more). In Maddocks’ case there are open spaces, breakout work areas, and coffee baristas are helping to encourage staff to return to the office. While remote working is allowed for some parts of the job to be done remotely, important parts such as mentoring, meeting with clients, and debriefing cannot be done as well remotely.