b'6 Local Government LawyerNobody misses the commute.rated as major issues by less than a fifth of respondents and for most local authorityThe survey said.lawyers, remote working has been, on balance, a positive experience. Little wonderUnless I have a court hearing I have found my day is much more flexible. I now go for a run every then that only 4% of those who took part inother morning and actually have a lunch break- something that was impossible in the office.the general survey respondents said that they would like to return to their offices full-timeMore productive, much improved work / life balance, exercising, less stressed, more family time, when the pandemic is finally over. no travel, win/win!Managing the lockdown Working at home all the time gets lonely without interaction with colleagues in an office For heads of legal and others in managementenvironment.positions, lockdown has created a host of other issues, not least the monitoring andWorking longer hours, in large part because of the increased workload as a result of the motivation of staff working remotely, against agovernments legislation and guidance that appeared, and still appears, ever changeable with backdrop of rising legal work and uncertaintylittle notice and with shorter breaks all on a laptop.about future budgets.However, as we saw earlier, productivityThe hours and pressure dont feel so different; the big change is how I interact with people.has held up very strongly and more lawyers consider the quality of what they produce toWork levels have been unmanageable at times due to the increased need for legal advice and no have improved rather than deteriorated sincechange in staffing levels. The expectation is that a reply will be given immediately which means I they have been working remotely. am literally working 12 hour days.Some of the potential problems that might have been expected to cause significantI feel isolated from my team for professional and emotional support, which is my biggest concern headaches for management have proved toas this impacts on stress levels and coping mechanisms. I work longer hours because I sit at home be less challenging than might have beenin front of a computer all day. expected (Table 4).Only around 1-in-10 heads of legal considerAt the outset of the pandemic the need to pull together to deal with the crisis gave a different the supervision, monitoring and training ofsense of purpose. As things start to revert to a more usual workload there is a fatigue that sets staff to be much more difficult remotely andin.when it comes to maintaining the efficiency of their departments, heads of legal are moreWFH gives better work life balance avoiding commuting hours but not being around colleagues likely to find it easier when their staff are atand less support means minor issues build up to cause more anxieties.home than when they are in office, with 35% believing that improving efficiency is betterCompared to working in a busy open plan office environment, WFH provides an abundance when done remotely compared with 24% whoof quiet time which makes it easier to carry out drafting and research tasks that require more find it more difficult.concentration. Trainees and senior staff are more organised and focused, one head of legalSitting in our own homes you do not always pick up on the client side their thinking or what recorded. Remote working has proved to bethey may be saying to other colleagues, so there can be a risk there as clients sometimes present far more efficient and effective than officedifferent information to legal hoping to get the answer they want.'