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Returning to “Normal”

Law firms learned something new and important during the pandemic: it was possible (if not ideal) to allow some, if not all, of their staff to work remotely. The results of this national involuntary “experiment” were mixed. Some firms found that remote work was not only feasible, it actually improved productivity. Others found that the loss of collegial interaction among professional staff negatively impacted the quality of their work product. And in some instances, remote work performance was individual-specific, with some staff prospering, while others couldn’t wait to get back to the office.

What is clear is that in the “brave new” post-pandemic world, remote work (in some form) is here to stay. So, how will this new reality effect recruiting from both the employer’s side and the employee’s side? The direct answer to that question is that no one knows for sure.

From the employer’s side, reduced dependency on traditional office space may ease recruiting as opportunities open up for prospective employees who can only accept employment with flexible working conditions. Consider, for example, prospective employees who are responsible to be essential care-providers to young, old or infirmed family members. Interestingly, some studies show prospective employees may be willing to “trade” higher wages for flexible working conditions.

From the employee side, remote working may create a sharply increased demand for workers who have a demonstrated ability to successfully motivate and direct themselves. Employees who flourish while work remotely, producing a high volume of top-quality work often under stressful conditions, will be increasingly attractive to prospective employers.

Since no one knows for certain exactly how issues around remote working will ultimately sort out, the skills of top-flight recruiting firms will be especially important and valuable. Finding exactly the right person to staff key positions will become increasingly critical and challenging.

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