b're ussion ona disc om te workingThe COVID pandemic has forced historys largest flexible working experiment and the experiment is far from over. IntroductionRemote working for the legal sector has created a shift thatThere are a range of factors that have been contributing to the extends beyond individuals, single businesses, industries andtrend including even countries. This experiment is happening across the globe. Increased expectations and needs from employeesCollecting and understanding the wide-consequences data fromImproved supporting technologies and systems the COVID remote working experience is only just beginning andGrowing leadership from various individuals, companies, will probably take years to complete. and industriesBut what we have already learned from transitioning, adaptingA greater evidence base of the benefits and risks and and finally settling into a new normal and how we respond toTeams that are increasingly drawn from a range of different these learnings, will determine how beneficial remote working canlocations benefit law firms as well as their staff and customers and the wider community.GLOBAL AVERAGE75%As the influence of COVID and restrictions slowly lift, business leaders will need to make important decisions to get the balance between office and remote working right.68% 68% 72% 72% 73% 73% 74% 74% 74% 77% 77% 77% 78% 79% 79% 80%But there still many critical issues that need to be addressed to ensure that the advantages of flexible working are not undermined by disadvantages and risks and that advantage felt by some are not paid by others. Germany France Brazil Italy UK Netherlands Australia USA Spain China Canada India Belgium South Africa Mexico JapanBefore COVID Fig.1 | % of people who consider flexible working to be the new normalEven before COVID the way we work had been graduallyAusLSAs 2019 Legal Sector Sustainability Update wrote that changing and heading toward an inevitable tipping point in theflexibility was becoming increasingly important to AusLSA uptake of flexible working, and the management systems and themember employees as workers sought to balance competing life workspace solutions whichallow it to work. opportunities and priorities. Over successive reports we have The popularity of flexible working in both Australian andobserved that more and more Australian law firms are successfully international law firms has been building over the last ten years asadjusting the way they work and are modifying thesystems they employees and firms began to understand the opportunity tohad in place that allowed people to contribute effectively and innovate, and commenced building systems and supportefficiently to their workplace by providing more time and location mechanisms.flexibility. In 2019, the International Workplace Group (IWG) found thatAusLSAs 2019 Legal Sector Sustainability Update showed that globally, half of business people work outside one of their mainone-hundred percent of reporting members had a formal flexible office locations for half of each week and that that sixty-twoworking policy in place and eighty-eight percent supported percent of businesses worldwide had a flexible workspace policy. remote working.'