Remote working

15 Jul 2019

“Remote working is defined as working somewhere other than the office one day a week or more.”

The employer perspective:

If you have hired recently, then you may be well aware of the shortage of talent out there. Often managers stick to what they know and past generations have the idea that ‘good’ work happens from 9am to 5pm, in offices around the city, but for future generations who have been brought up on e-commerce and communications, this will not do.

In order to attract the most highly skilled attorneys, clients need to show flexibility as remote work is now becoming the normality.  One study found that 52% of all employees work remotely at least one day per week.  With so many employees doing this, companies need to keep up with their changing role as their employer or manager.   For it to be effective you may need to find new ways to communicate information and keep your employees on task!

 3 steps to Managing Remote Employees

  1. Use communication tools – this can be as simple as email, phones, video conferencing and instant messaging software.
  2. Track Employee Time – time and attendance software can help with this as employees may not only commit time theft but may in some cases not be able to separate work and home time and may work too much.
  3. Monitor Projects – this can involve project management software or just making sure an employee understands your expectations.

 There are however many motivations for companies to take on remote working practices. You have to consider that every company is unique therefore each will find different benefits from remote working.

Some of the common benefits to a company are:

  • access to more skilled attorneys from a wider geographical area. The younger generation have grown up being able to communicate cheaply from anywhere in the world and expect the same in the workplace environment.
  • worker retention is higher when workers have flexibility and receive an enhanced work-life balance,
  • more autonomous employees who are allowed to operate in a way that suits them. Attorneys can be particular in how and when they like to work and working from home allows them to have this control,
  • increased productivity given the right support – surveys have shown that homeworkers have higher productivity as there are no distractions from co-workers.
  • lower costs – office space is expensive and if employees are able to work remotely this could enable a hot desk policy reducing the amount of space needed.


 The employee perspective:

As more and more people are starting to work from home, it comes with a many  advantages for the employee which will lead to a happier workforce:

Employees will benefit from:

  • No commute – Studies show that workers regard their commute as a loss of wages, expense and a general negative aspect of their work.
  • Lifestyle – Remote work allows for closer contact to family needs, improved personal planning opportunities and customized working environment.
  • Productivity – Many studies demonstrate that a remote worker will be more productive with the right support. This relates to time saved in travel as well as decreased distractions. Employees will therefore have more time for leisure activities.
  • Health and wellbeing.
  • Save money – Remote work can reduce the money and time required to commute to and from the traditional workplace.
  • Other economic factors may include adult/child daycare costs, business attire, etc.

 As a specialist headhunter within the patent profession, we frequently approach patent attorneys beyond a comfortable geographical reach to the client. Often, location is cited as the reason for declining continued interest. We often wonder, if clients were more flexible and offered remote working, would we be able to help people realise these opportunities?

In the work we carry out, we have come to realise that this flexible arrangement of working is necessary in order to attract the best people and for companies to accept that the modern world of work must now compete with many other employee pressures and commitments outside of the company.

 Employers need to be conscious of the fact that if this isn’t part of company culture, then they may be losing out on talented people who are opting to work for other companies who are willing to accommodate their lifestyles.