Herbert Smith Freehills is updating its agile working policy with an expectation that its people will work in the office for an average of 60 percent of their working time.

The firm say the 60 percent benchmark can be adjusted to suit each individual, team and situation. It will apply to partners, lawyers and business services roles, including PAs. The policy will only apply once an office is physically open and operational, and physical distancing rules have been greatly relaxed or removed.

Justin D’Agostino

Justin D’Agostino

“Despite the pressure and worries of the pandemic, we know that many of our people have greatly valued the flexibility of how, where and when we work, gaining more time for their families, health and other commitments,” said CEO Justin D’Agostino.

“We also recognise that the office will remain an important place for connection, collaboration and learning, with clients and with each other.”

“By setting this benchmark for post-pandemic operations, we hope to give our people the flexibility to design a working pattern that suits them, their colleagues and our clients, and to offer some certainty in uncertain times.”

According to the firm, the policy is backed up with stringent information security, health and safety assessments for home working, and resources for wellbeing.

“We cannot predict with absolute certainty what the workplace will look like six months or even a year from now,” said D’Agostino. “However, this new policy gives every part of our firm the freedom to start imagining and designing new ways of working as those workplace practices evolve.”

It is likely other international firms will make similar announcements over the coming months.