Staff at a top London law firm have been told they can work from home permanently – but they will have to take a 20% pay cut to do so.
Since the start of the pandemic a debate has raged over who gains and who loses when staff work from home. Employees save time and money, but employers can save too, on office space and costs. Junior lawyers at the company have starting salaries of £90,000, meaning anyone taking up the offer would lose about £18,000. The new salary sacrifice for full remote working policy is being introduced after the company’s experience of recruiting lawyers during the coronavirus pandemic who were not based in London, where living costs tend to be higher.
However, the company said it expected only a few staff to take up the full-time work from home option. Staff have the option of working remotely for two days a week, and “for the vast majority of our people, our hybrid working policy works well”.
“Like so many firms, we see value in being in the office together regularly, while also being able to offer our people flexibility,” the spokesman said.
Some argue workers are less productive when unsupervised at home. Others say without the commute they work longer hours, often spilling over into evenings and weekends and face fewer distractions.
Most recently cabinet office minister Jacob Rees-Mogg sparked controversy when he said all civil servants must stop working from home, leaving notes on empty desks saying “I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.”
Academic studies suggest remote working can boost productivity. Many private sector firms have found that allowing a combination of home and office work, frees up space and improves staff satisfaction.
Stephenson Harwood told the BBC that it had recruited some remote workers from outside London during the pandemic, on a lower pay package, reflecting the lower cost of not commuting into the capital, but if they do need to go to the office remote workers could claim travel expenses, he said.
Original article here.