Workplace Flexibility in Legal Firms: Improving Employee Engagement
A recent panel at the Women, Influence & Power in Law conference has brought about conversation regarding workplace flexibility. While lawyers have historically been known to work long, harsh hours, a panel of four top-ranked legal experts is challenging the notion of a traditional legal workplace. Regardless of the type of workplace enforced, Employment Practices Liability Program for Legal Firms should be evaluated and updated.
The panel included Laura Cox, principal-in-charge of government, regulatory affairs and public policy at PwC, Maria Pasquale, senior vice president at Celgene, Jane Imperatore, partner at VLP Law Group, and Susan Smith Blakely, author or “Best Friends at the Bar,” according to Inside Counsel.
While lawyers can work upwards of 80 hours per week, Blakely argues that instead of working these immense hours, law firms should adopt the mentality of working smarter, not harder. In addition, Pasquale recommends enforcing open communication and giving credit where credit is due. She states that she makes it a point to let upper management know how strong their work is. What’s more, Inside Counsel states allowing lawyers, especially women, to work flexible hours- say, three or four days a week, is a possibility that firms and law departments can consider.
To promote employee engagement, ask them important questions and actively listen to responses. Not only does this improve employee happiness, but it can lead to possible discussions for improvement and ideas to grow. Kaplan states that upper management should be aware of the benefits of flexibility as it relates to productivity and profitability to realize this goal.
Imperatore stated that “The tone can be set from the top and the middle. You can have someone in that position speaking openly and honestly that they can’t be on a call because they have to go to a parent teacher conference.” As such, flexibility should be enforced during regular work hours.
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