Flexible working: A stretched idea?

What’s Going On Here?

Professional services firm PwC has created a scheme called the Flexible Talent Network which allows new recruits to indicate their preference for their working patterns.

What Does This Mean?

The firm now allocates its new recruits to projects, instead of roles. This in theory, would allow them greater flexibility over their working pattern. The root of this decision can be traced back to a study they carried out identifying that 50% of 2000 respondents placed flexible working hours at the forefront of their decision when choosing a job. The purpose of this change was to attract recruits who did not want to be tied to more traditional working hours and to accommodate those who might be transitioning in and out of work (for example staff taking maternity leave).

What is the big picture effect?

PwC isn’t the first firm to put flexible working measures into practice. Slaughter and May allow associates and partners to work from home one day per week, whilst Hogan Lovells has a flexible policy open to the firm as a whole. This suggests that flexibility is becoming a more pressing concern for workers, which has pushed firms to take measures to facilitate this. However, in practice is flexible working sustainable

For commercial firms, non-fixed working patterns might be challenging to maintain, with workloads being largely dependent on the market where there can be peaks and troughs. Moreover firms with clients international clients may have to consider time-differences when setting the parameters of their flexible working scheme to maintain their client satisfaction.

With the client at the heart of their work, commercial firms may be hesitant to roll out and retain flexible working on a larger scale. This indicates that whilst flexible working might be appreciated, in practice it may have its limitations.

To read about which law firms are implementing flexible working schemes click here!

Report written by Natasha D.

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