Law firm Stephenson Harwood has offered employees in its London office the opportunity to move to a full remote-working arrangement, in exchange for a 20% reduction to pay.
The firm told Employee Benefits that, during the pandemic, it opened up its recruitment to those not based in London, in order to benefit from high quality candidates who might previously have been unable to join the firm due to location.
Now that staff have returned to offices following the easing of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions, Stephenson Harwood has opened the offer of fully remote work up to a wider range of employees.
The firm currently operates a hybrid working model, but in recognition that many individuals are reconsidering living in London, it has offered the opportunity to discuss fully remote work for those wishing to relocate outside of commuting distance. Arrangements will be made on an individual basis, following discussion about whether a job is feasible while fully remote.
The firm stated that renegotiated contracts will include a 20% pay decrease. This decision was influenced by numerous factors, one of which was to align with contracts already in place for those recruited during the pandemic, and another was to reflect the difference in living and commuting costs for those living and attending an office in London.
Stephenson Harwood told Employee Benefits that it was unlikely that junior lawyers would take up the offer of going fully remote, considering the benefit of learning from peers and superiors in the earlier stages of a career. The firm suggested that this offer would be most desirable for those staff at a stage in their career where they have less need for the benefits of being in the London office, and are more focused on creating a work-life balance tailored to their own needs.
The offer is not available to partners, who are not counted as employees and are subject to different contract structures as a result.
A spokesperson from Stephenson Harwood said: “For the vast majority of our people, and the candidates we speak to, our hybrid working policy works well; our people globally have the option to work remotely for up to two days a week, according to business need. Like so many firms, we see value in being in the office together regularly, while also being able to offer our people flexibility.
“For resourcing reasons during the pandemic, we recruited lawyers who weren’t based in London, but lived elsewhere in the UK. The packages we offered were different from what we offer our people in London. They’re fully remote and are not expected to regularly attend the office. If they are needed in the office, we cover their travel and accommodation expenses.
“Recently we’ve opened the option to existing members of staff, so anyone interested in taking advantage of the additional flexibility offered by the package can have a conversation about whether it can work for their role.”