Many have thrived working remotely while others have had difficulty adjusting to the never ending back-to-back Zoom meetings. For women, the remote office affords efficiency and at the same time more availability to devote to work. Consequently adapting to the new normal has manifested new mental health and wellness issues.
There has been a mass exodus of attorneys leaving law firms. Attorneys are experiencing anxiety, isolation, and disengagement. McKinsey & Co. cites discontent and disconnectedness as the primary reason lawyers are leaving the firm.
It has become apparent that no one’s job is safe in this new normal workplace. The pandemic has made things exceedingly harsh for women. Many women attorneys have lost their jobs and others have had a difficult time remaining at the firm.
An annual study from (McKinsey & Co. | Women in the Workplace) reports that senior level women are 1.5 times more likely than senior level men considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce altogether due to COVID-19. Three out of four cite ‘burnout’ as the reason. Additionally caregiving burdens have fallen on mothers with children during the pandemic.
It’s all so new, many firms understand that virtual work is not especially conducive to assimilating. Working remotely has created challenges maintaining an inclusive workplace which has not addressed the lawyers real needs. To stave off the increasing turnover rate, firms have been throwing money at the problem.
The key is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. To improve engagement, firms are now offering perks such as granting extra-time-off as well as digital snack boxes and weekly virtual massages.
In order to retain and recruit the top talent, law firms need to offer gender parity in pay with opportunities for success. Now is the perfect time for women to negotiate favorable terms when re-entering the workplace.
Law firms' willingness to offer flexible terms opens the door to new opportunities. Hybrid work is ideal for women who balance raising their families with meeting the demands of the law firm.
Women want personally meaningful work that connects their values, purpose, and work-life balance. When negotiating terms, women want flexible schedules with guarantees for advancement once measurable benchmarks are met.
Don’t get left behind. Understand that to thrive in this new normal you are going to have to show up at the office or you’re going to get left behind. Make the most of your time while at the office. Do the legal work from home, use office meetings and social gatherings to connect with people.
Work with a recruiter. When negotiating terms, research how engaged the staff is. Ask if there is truly a flexible workplace where remote work is truly a part of the firm’s culture.
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