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7 Top Tips To Negotiate Flexible Working

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The hottest topic in the legal sector now is still flexible working. At Altitude Recruitment we are experts at working with law firms and lawyers to negotiate a flexible working arrangement that works for everyone.

Flexible working is the biggest work topic to come out of the pandemic and is showing no signs of going away. We at Altitude Recruitment have negotiated a different type of flexible working arrangement for our last few placements and often get questions around it, so today we will share with you our seven top tips for a successful negotiation. 

Expectation vs. Reality?

The expectation of flexible working is still working from home, but the reality is that flexibility means different things to different people. It might mean starting earlier and finishing earlier to pick up children, hybrid home and office or taking a longer lunch break to go to the gym. It is important when going into any negotiation around making flexibility work for you that you outline exactly what it means to you and why and clearly communicate your desired outcome, with examples of how you see it working and the benefit to the employer.

7 Top Tips For Negotiating Flexible Working

·      Ask for a meeting- any negotiation is better done face to face to make sure you both clearly understand the expectations vs the reality and are both on the same page around what is expected and how this will work.

·      Be flexible– when entering any negotiation, it is important that you enter in with an open mind and be open to other suggestions that come up in the discussion

·      Plan for the meeting– have notes, outlining your expectations, how you envisage your ideal scenario and how you see it working in reality, without affecting your work outcomes or productivity

·      Why and How?– It is important to communicate why this is important to you, but also how this will benefit both the employee and the employer

·      Suggest a trial– some managers may be nervous to agree to this full time, suggesting a three-month trial is a great way to showcase this can be done without affecting your productivity

·      Document the discussion– follow up the meeting with an email outlining what was agreed to

·      Review– it is a good idea to review after three months and make sure everyone is happy with the arrangement, this is a chance to make any tweaks and ensure it is working as well as possible

How Has The Pandemic Shaken Things Up?

A major benefit of the pandemic is that it has shaken things up and made people really think about what is important to them. And after a mass experiment of working from home, with kids and pets and other distractions, it has made people rethink the traditional 9-5 workday in an office environment. Now the expectation is that people can make work “work” for them, and the term work/life balance has taken on a new meaning as workers no longer want to fit their life around their workday but rather blend their work and life.

What Is The Biggest Threat To The Legal Industry?

The legal industry can have a high rate of burnout and workloads since the pandemic have increased, this coupled with the high rate of employees heading overseas and a talent shortage in New Zealand means that employee wellness and ensuring staff aren’t overworked is also a big topic. A few firms are now focused on mental health and wellbeing, as well as retention of staff which will be the biggest issue over the next year. 

The Great Resignation would appear to have hit in full force and employees are now prioritising their health and wellbeing over working long hours. To retain good employees, it is important that law firms and managers be open to conversations around the employees desired working style. After all happy employees are more likely to be loyal and stick around. In this market, employees have options and if you want to keep good people it is important to check in on staff and take on board their feelings around making work “work better” for them.

How To Have A Successful Negotiation?

But, for any flexible working arrangement to work in reality, and for any negotiations around it to be successful, it is important to clearly outline expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page, so here are our top tips for a successful negotiation.

Overall, it is about clear communication. Clearly communicating your desires, your why and the how. I think it is easy for people to know what arrangement they are looking for and why it is important to them, but they often forget the how – how it will work in reality. A clearly thought-out plan is more likely to be agreed to and more likely to be successful as everyone is on the same page of understanding how it will work.

If you would like help negotiating a flexible work arrangement or would like to know how other law firms are making it work, then feel free to reach out to the team at Altitude Recruitment. 

If you would like to be the first to know about new vacancies in the legal sector or want help with filling a legal vacancy, then register your interest with us today.