It seems that every other week another law firm announces a new flexible working initiative to better accommodate their employees' personal interests and commitments, with the aim of keeping up retention levels.
Linklaters has just announced a new flexible working pilot allowing associates in its four German offices to work fewer hours for a proportionally reduced salary. With the increasing threat of losing high-quality legal talent to the government and other sectors who provide a better work-life balance, it is unsurprising that the firm is looking for effective ways to combat this.
Flexible working should be welcomed by the legal sector with open arms. Law firms, and businesses across all sectors, need to be speaking to their employees and asking what they want. With increasingly busy, interactive lives and the blossoming power of social media and the internet, people's priorities and needs are changing.
At the moment flexible working is a hot potato - it is controversial because everyone wants to be seen as a flexible employer, understanding of their employees' needs, but the plethora of different initiatives shows a lack of comprehension as to how flexible working should work. Only time will tell whether these initiatives take hold and flourish.
Linklaters is piloting a new career model for associates, allowing them to work fewer hours for a proportionally reduced salary. The scheme, named ‘YourLink’, is being trialled in the firm’s four German offices from 1 May. Linklaters describes it as “a new working time and career model… which guarantees a long-term perspective with reliable, regular working hours. With this alternative career track, Linklaters offers its employees the opportunity to work on top mandates in an international environment while at the same time meeting their personal needs.”