More than three years after the COVID-19 pandemic started, the way lawyers work is changing forever.
While many law firms continue to work remotely, many of them saw the need for physical interaction with clients and teammates and decided to go back to the office. But the generational divide is clear:
The 2022 Practice Forward Report by The American Bar Association found that 44% of lawyers practicing 10 years or less were more likely to leave their current job for one that offers a greater ability to work remotely. At the other end of the age spectrum, only 13% of those practicing over 40 years would leave their place of employment for the greater ability to work remotely.
What this means is that there is not one generalized consensus about how remote work affects lawyers’ productivity and satisfaction. While some studies find that working from home increases productivity, other studies find that having no boundaries between work and life actually reduces productivity. While some studies find that workers feel more motivated working from home, other studies find that people’s mental health suffers when they stop those daily and spontaneous interactions with teammates and clients.
So what’s the truth? And what can law firms do to maximize their productivity and team retention, while saving costs on office space?
Enter the Hybrid Work Model
Instead of making people choose between remote work or on-site work, The 2022 Practice Forward Survey found that lawyers want the flexibility to decide for themselves when they work in the office and when they work at home. There is a strong desire to create flexible schedules and hybrid work arrangements, that will allow each person to control their day and tailor it to the way they know they can maximize productivity.
In other words, lawyers value optionality more than anything.
The Hybrid Work Model combines both in-person and remote work, offering lawyers and staff greater flexibility while maintaining the core functions of a traditional law firm.
This model allows firms to attract and retain top talent by offering a more attractive work-life balance, reduces overhead costs associated with maintaining large office spaces, and fosters agility and resilience in our age of disruptions.
However, there are 7 important factors to consider in order to implement the hybrid model effectively:
- Clear Policies and Guidelines: Clear policies and guidelines should outline the rules that will govern the hybrid work arrangement. Include expectations regarding work hours, communication, data security, client interactions, and performance metrics. Ensure that all employees understand and adhere to these guidelines.
- Technology Infrastructure: Invest in robust technology infrastructure to support remote work. This includes secure remote access to case management systems, cloud-based document storage, video conferencing tools, and cybersecurity measures. Ensure that employees have the necessary hardware and software to work effectively from various locations.
- Communication Tools: New communication tools and practices are required to maintain seamless collaboration among team members. Utilize video conferencing, instant messaging, project management software, and virtual meeting platforms to facilitate communication and document sharing.
- Performance Metrics: Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to assess employee performance and productivity in a hybrid work environment. These metrics can include billable hours, case progress, client satisfaction, and project completion rates. Review and adjust these metrics regularly as needed.
- Training and Support: Offer training and support for employees so all of them can navigate the hybrid work model successfully. Provide guidance on using remote work tools, maintaining data security, and managing time effectively. Encourage ongoing skill development to adapt to evolving work practices.
- Client Interaction Strategy: Develop a strategy for maintaining strong client relationships in a hybrid work environment. Consider offering both in-person and virtual client meetings, ensuring that clients can access legal services conveniently. Communicate the firm’s commitment to maintaining high-quality client service.
- Employee Well-being: Prioritize employee well-being and mental health. Recognize the challenges that come with remote work and provide resources to support physical and emotional health. Encourage regular breaks, flexibility in work schedules, and initiatives that promote work-life balance.
The hybrid work model can represent a significant shift in how lawyers practice, so most team members will require support. By setting clear expectations and controls, but also trusting people will continue doing their jobs, law firms can successfully transition to this new model while maintaining high standards of service.
How Hybrid Law Firms Can Access Office Spaces — On Their Own Terms
At Amata, we saw long before the pandemic how the legal industry was shifting. Technological disruptions and changing attitudes towards work meant that people craved more freedom and meaning, while still prioritizing law firm profitability and growth.
This is why our office-as-a-service model is the perfect complement to hybrid law firms. It allows lawyers to work remotely and protect their bottom line, while still enjoying the benefits of a traditional office space.
Our shared office spaces allow lawyers and professional service companies to have a prestigious business address in Chicago, access a private office or a conference room for the day, and get support from paralegals and virtual receptionists only when they need it. This flexible office space plus support staff on-demand model is why more than 800 law firms choose us.
And there’s more. With Amata, you can access:
- Scalable office plans where you can add or drop office spaces during the term of the contract, without penalty, so that you can stay agile without the hassle of relocating.
- Flexible legal support staff (both in-person and virtual) that act as an extension of your work, without the costs and risks of hiring full-time employees.
- On-demand paralegals, administrative assistants, and virtual receptionists. All pre-vetted for you.
- A business address in a prestigious area in Chicago, so you can impress clients and keep their trust.
- Mail handling, scanning, and forwarding.
- Conference rooms & private offices for the day.
- Professional live receptionists to meet and greet your clients.
- Networking events, so you can keep building relationships and growing your business even if you are fully remote.
- And much, much more!
If you’d like to adopt a hybrid work model for your law firm, but do not want to lose the support services and productive environment a traditional office provides, Amata is for you. Our flexible plans and scalable solutions ensure you protect your profitability, while having access to modern offices that meet your exact needs.
Contact us today to schedule a tour of our locations. Discover how can we support your growth, whether you choose to work remotely, on-site, or opt for a hybrid model.