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It takes 2 years to settle into a new job. It takes 2 years to learn to be a partner. But it only takes 17 months or so to learn to love remote work models.

Associates think the remote/hybrid model is here to stay — except for the 4% of associates who think firms should mandate full-time return and/or want to be in the office full time. Here’s how the rest of the associates bring differing views to the office vs. remote work dilemma:

We’ll Decide

50% want to own the decision about coming into the office. They know their deadlines, commitments, and responsibilities. They also are confident they will get the face time they need to move their careers along. They want to design their schedules to meet these demands. The Own Your Own (OYO) scheduling makes for happy and more productive associates.

This model requires high-touch communications to ensure the right people know where the associates are and will be.

Half Time is Just Right

26% want to be in the office at least 50% of the time. In their opinion, this is enough time to ensure they are available for ad-hoc conversations, face time, access to the right people, and firm resources.

I’ll Take ¾ in the Office

20% of associates think 75%/25% is the right balance — 75% in the office and the rest remote. These associates see more need for access to other associates, firm resources, or a quiet place to work.

The debate over a return to the office just might be hypothetical — or revolt-inducing. Most associates are planning some form of remote work.

Law firm leaders will be mustering all their savvy to find the right balance and the right message. The associates want choice and flexibility. The right formula will include attorney choice with matter-specific requirements based on client needs and demands.

The Delta variant is kicking the can down the road — and also embedding the hybrid model in the next normal.

Firms who find the right balance will energize their workforce — and develop a culture to differentiate themselves in the newly competitive world of attorney retention.

Be safe.

The MAD Clientist

(Based on a BTI Survey of more than 200 associates conducted primarily from August 15, 2021 through August 26, 2021) 

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