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The article below has been republished in full courtesy of Law360, written by Kali Hayes.
Associates and other employees of White & Case LLP in London walked into a more flexible workplace this week, as the firm has implemented a new “agile” U.K. office policy that allows working remotely, making it the third firm in recent weeks to do so. Melissa Butler, one of White & Case’s London-based partners, told Law360 on Tuesday that working from home, or “agile working,” has been something that attorneys and nonlegal employees in the office have been utilizing in an informal way for a while, but she said that making the policy official is aimed at those who were concerned about any negative connotations attached to working from home. “By formalizing the policy we're making it known that we want people to take advantage of this and we want people to not feel like they have to take a day off if they have to wait at home for a delivery, for example,” Butler said. “We’re trying to accommodate the pressures that weigh on people’s personal and business lives.” The policy is also a direct response to surveys that White & Case sends to associates at least once a year, according to Butler, the last several of which have made clear that attorneys were eager to have access to a more flexible schedule. “Our staff and associates, they cancel holidays, they work through weekends, so if we're going to ask that of them the least we can do is accommodate that at times they may not need to be in the office during set business hours,” Butler said. As for restrictions and specific guidelines on how employees actually get to work remotely, Butler said that the officewide policy was left more general so that specific working groups, be it partners or support staff, can set more specific guidelines based on their work. However, the office will be recording remote work days, “so it's not just a laissez faire existence,” Butler said. The official policy change at White & Case comes about a week after Denton’s three U.K. offices unveiled a similar flexible work policy, but one that only allows remote working up to one day per week. Dentons' move was also prompted by associate feedback and the firm said that recognizing that technology allows remote working is part of the firm’s pursuit of smarter and more efficient ways of working. Leading the newly flexible trio however is Shearman & Sterling LLP, which instituted its own flexible work policy in April for attorneys in North American, Latin American and Caribbean offices. Sherman attorneys can now work outside the office up to two days a month, depending on the day-to-day needs of their practices.
The above article has been republished in full and is courtesy of Law360. For the latest breaking news and analysis on energy industry legal issues, visit Law360 today.