b'10 Local Government Lawyerof other legal disciplines which is best achieved by direct interaction, said one.Any local authorities that try to resist the trend towards home working may find themselves at a disadvantage in the recruitment market57% of lawyers told the survey that the availability of remote working would be a major factor in their choice of employer and a further 22% said it would be a minor one.I have saved three hours per day on commuting and circa 500 per month, commented one lawyer. If we go back to office working, I would now look for alternative employment closer to home or with more remote working.Conversely, the rise of remote working may enable some councils in more remote or expensive locations to recruit more easily if candidates no longer need to re-locate.Making it happenThere are a number of hurdles in the way before this can be successfully achieved,The survey sayshowever. Firstly, as detailed earlier, spending on ITespecially matter management systemsI dont really need to work in the office to do my job. Zoom and Teams have proven thatneeds to increase if efficient remote workingmeetings of large groups of people work extremely well remotely.is to be maintained.Secondly, a number of responses to theI think some face to face office time is required to catch up with team members. One of the survey noted that care needs to be takenhardest things about remote working is supporting and bringing on staff when you can only with the management of workflow to ensureinteract virtuallyworking 1-2 days in the office per week would allow those physical discussions that the burden is shared equally. Employeeto take place.performance will increasingly need to be measured by outputs rather than inputsPersonally, if the office was available to attend if needed i.e. if we were going to court or needed such as time spent in the office. Additionaldocuments printing etc, I would work from home the majority of the timeit is far easier than efforts will need to be made to ensure thatattending the office full time.knowledge and experience can be shared with the team, and especially with new joiners andI have embraced working at homeit has reduced travel and cost and I work harder.less experienced staff. Possible resentment between those in practice areas that requireIn the office you have a proper desk with adequate space and, importantly, supportive chair.more office-based working and those that doYou also have screen and keyboard at good levels for health and safety purposeswe cannot all not would need to be managed too. achieve that at home, assuming you have space for office work in any event. In addition, I am Further down the track, some respondentssingularly unhappy with having to undertake video callsmy home is my private space, it is not requested changes to their core hoursfor public consumption but this is being forced upon us by the requirement to work at home.(typically 10am to 4pm) to enable them to work at the hours that suit them. Freedom from commuting by train is a life changing improvement.So, after coping with lockdown, legal department management have anotherTo work as a successful team I think you have to have face to face contact. The small social challenge on their handsto meet theirniceties help oil smooth workingthe daily chat about the weather, what cases people have employees demands for remote working.going on, how the weekend was etc are very missing on working from home.Given the success of the response to the pandemic back in March, there is no reasonDoing child care work, there has been no let up, we have been busier than ever, with hearings why it should not be achievable. For localbeing rescheduled. The team has coped incredibly well, but I do hope that there will be a time government lawyers, the lockdown maywhen people can have a proper break as working at this pace is tough.provide a new freedom in their working lives that nobody could have anticipated even aI think in the age of climate change and pollution from traffic, local authorities and all public year ago. sector should lead the way and continue to ensure our employees are not on the roads to and from work unnecessarily, causing pollution and wear and tear on the roads. Its a giant step to the Derek Bedlow is the publisher of Localfuture that many were reluctant to take but has been forced on us and is now shown to work very Government Lawyer. well.'