Observations on Home Working - David Park
I am sure that my firm is similar to many other businesses at the moment in that the way we operate as a solicitors firm has changed more in the last 2 or 3 months than it had in the previous 10 years or longer. From talking about more flexible working, to going much further than we imagined we would go in the space of a couple of weeks. Solicitors are lucky that working from home is a practical option for much of our work which is not open to many other businesses.
The move to home working has been better than I expected, and I have learnt a few things along the way.
1. Home working efficiently still needs a hub. We have manged to keep the physical offices open working with a skeleton staff to do those things you either cannot do at all or cannot do well at home. We have been dealing with some large firms on transactions throughout lockdown who have closed their offices completely and it has caused them some real difficulties. Whilst most things can be done as well or better from home, those few things that can’t can be very frustrating
2. Some types of work are easier to do from home than others. In my firm’s case, it has been easier for the solicitors to work from home than for some of the administrative staff.
3. It can be really good for complicated tasks, with fewer interruptions. This is obviously easier if you do not have young children at home! We have had to learn to give and take a bit.
4. The vast majority of staff can be trusted to get on with it. Most people want to do a good job.
So, what is the future? I am sure that home working will become more common and will have all sorts of impacts, some of which we will not anticipate. It is likely to have impacts on the number of journeys people make with work and where people live and work, which could be an opportunity for our area. Why not live (and work most of the time) in a beautiful area such as ours and only visit the big centres such as Manchester, Liverpool or London etc. as and when required? As with much of life at the moment, there will be challenges and opportunities ahead.