of the City’s largest law firms is in the process of introducing flexible
working patterns in response to staff demand.
Tovell, personnel director of Simmons & Simmons, said the new options for
the company’s staff include working from home and part-time working.
& Simmons measure the productivity of staff working flexibly to assess the
effectiveness of the programme. The productivity of lawyers is measured by
billable hours, whereas secretarial and support staff’s productivity is
measured by the number of tasks completed.
admitted it was much harder to measure the productivity of support staff, so
they work on a three-month trial basis.
trial is now in its second year and 82 staff are working flexibly. Simmons
& Simmons intends to draw up a policy based on its trial in the near
said, "We started this initiative to explore work-life balance because we
didn’t want to draft a policy in a vacuum. We haven’t noticed any positive or
negative effect on productivity."
with small children have to sign agreements guaranteeing that documents will be
treated in the strictest confidence, and they have to confirm that they have
childcare provisions in place.
of the major challenges faced by Tovell’s HR team is balancing the quality of
life of staff with the demands of clients.
firm employs 1,000 people in the UK and has 12 offices worldwide.