The panel discussion chaired by Andrew Try, CEO of ComXo, quizzed expert opinion from firms that have either implemented new working practices or are planning to do. He was joined by Derek Cummings, HR Director, Burness Paull LLP and Penny Newman, Director of People and Knowledge at Lewis Silkin in a lively discussion around the challenges that agile working brings to the 21st Century Law firm. Together they explored what is driving the market place and how you can navigate your way successfully through the mine field between the urgent and the important.
Agile Working Panel Discussion- Listen again!
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- What is Agile Working?
A discussion around what Agile Working means to a 21st Century Law Firm.
- Outsourcing – Cost cutting vs. Client/ staff needs
With outsourcing becoming more and more frequent, Andrew, Penny and Derek discuss whether the move to outsource is a result of needing to cut head count, or is it as a result of client requirements?
- Implementation of Agile working
The panel discuss the importance of the Senior partners and staff members being crucial in embracing the change culminating in successful implementation
- Open plan offices and how to implement
With space saving crucial in City Law Firms the panellists discuss the benefits of engaging space consultants to make the best use of the space and understand what is the best practice in this new way of working
- The operational challenges of agile working and how location affects the delivery of work
- “Work as much or as little as you want” – a recent PR campaign by a Global Law firm to attract/ retain staff
Andrew, Penny and Derek discuss how this really works in practice balanced with the need to ensure that the client is not impacted.
- Agile working in practice
Penny and Derek provide examples from their firms of individuals who make it work and there is a mutual appreciation that it is far easier for senior members of staff to adopt a flexible way of working.
- Output vs. Presenteeism and post millennial expectations
The panel discuss the challenges that are faced when managing more junior members of staff who are adopting a flexible working pattern. Changing the mind-set that being physically in the office is the only way to ensure the desired output. It is also appreciated by the panel that there are certain expectations from the new generation who expect a certain level of flexibility and the opportunity to have sabbaticals.
- Duty of care to homeworkers
It is important to ensure that homeworkers have the correct equipment and that security processes are in place when they are at home as they would be in the office. The panellists also discuss the importance of trust and establishing a mutually beneficial arrangement.
- Security processes extending to the homeworking situation
Andrew poses the question to Penny and Derek whether clients are aware that their cases are being worked on out of the office vicinity.
- The importance of culture when adopting an agile working policy
Educating and engaging teams in the implementation of agile working and the positive impact it can have on clients
- How important is globalisation and how does this challenge agile working in practice?
Global offices and Global clients, the panellists discuss the benefits this new way of working can have.
- Technology is vital to efficiently meet clients’ needs
Adoption of new technologies is a topic that receives much consideration, Andrew, Penny and Derek discuss potential approaches to drive adoption to include ‘at desk training’.
- What can we learn from other industries that are doing “agile working” better than law?
Andrew poses this question to Derek and Penny and discussion is centred on Finance, with working examples from well-known multinationals.
- To drive innovation, collaboration is key.
The panel discuss how important face to face contact is when striving for innovative outputs. Can this interaction be replicated by the use of technology?
- Question from the floor leading to a discussion about how agile working in the extreme can work. But the individual has to be trusted.
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