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Oxford law firm transforms working practices permanently after pandemic

23 March 2021
The Business Magazine article image for: Oxford law firm transforms working practices permanently after pandemic

Law firm Reeds Solicitors is to permanently shift towards more flexible working patterns . The firm, which employs more than 200 staff across 21 offices, said lessons learnt during the pandemic have encouraged the fast-track of existing plans to help maintain a ‘positive workplace culture’ and encourage ‘a more flexible and dynamic’ way of working.

Team members will now be offered more flexible working plans to suit their own individual needs and working preferences.

Head of HR Lillie Debbage said: ‘Staff can now choose to work a compressed week, build up time in lieu or operate a 9 day fortnight. We started this planning  pre-pandemic, but the governments ‘work from home’ directive and changes in our departmental case load demands have fast-tracked our implementation of these structural changes. So far, the new hybrid working model has been welcomed by the team and we have seen a significant uplift in productivity across the board.’ We currently have over 80 members of staff who are working alternative pattern to the standard 9-5.

 ‘Moving forward, teams, managers and individuals will work together to decide the working arrangements that would best suit their needs.’

 Alongside the ongoing changes to their working structure, the team have also worked hard to strengthen their remote well-being strategy.

Group Practice Manager Judy Matthews, who has been driving the firm’s well-being strategy for 10 years, said that the pandemic has heightened the need to encourage a positive workplace culture and identify any potential wellness or mental health issues early.

 “Since the first lockdown last March we have introduced a number of additional well-being initiatives including complimentary twice-weekly Yoga classes via MS Teams, a company-wide ‘Steppers’ group so teams can update their daily steps and activity levels, along with a dedicated team of Mental Health First Aiders, whose  purpose is to look after our teams mental health and spot potential issues before they happen.

 “We encourage weekly teams drinks, quizzes and catch-up’s online, and have just launched our 3rd annual Wellness Month where we will be looking at a range of issues from nutrition to financial health, as well as the new concept of Zoom fatigue.

“Another focus over the last 12 months has been communication within the firm. We now have far more teams and individuals across the business connecting  with each other than ever before, including a new ‘buddy system’ we have just introduced.

"Thanks to this  many of our teams have reported feeling closer to each other and less isolated, which is especially important now but will continue to benefit us even as we come out of the pandemic."

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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