b'PEOPLE| LEGAL SECTOR| 2021SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHTFLEXIBLE WORKING Australian SituationThe provision of flexible working options has a significant impact on enabling improved work life balance and gender equality outcomes in the workplace. Over the last 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of professions and organisations that have implemented policies, systems and technology that support flexible working arrangements. This has not only benefitted the employees that have a need for greater flexibility to manage a range of personal priorities and responsibilities, employers have benefited from the attraction and retention of high-quality talent, reduced recruitment costs, increased capability within organisation and consistent delivery of service to customers, resulting in improved outcomes that have supported the business case.Historically, flexible working was often accepted in principle, however in reality only infrequently adopted by a minority of staff, for temporary arrangements or for adhoc reasons. A Bain and Co report from 2016 showed that men who worked flexibly said they didnt feel supported by senior staff and that their flexible work arrangements were viewed negatively by peers and managers.The values and the organisational culture didnt truly integrate flexible working and many firms didnt have the systems in place, or the trust required to make the concepts work on such a massive scale. Supporting this cultural change is especially important to men. If men are to make greater contribution to unpaid commitments which are currently led my women, then their adoption of flexible working will need improve. https://www.wgea.gov.au/topics/gender-equality-and-menImpacts from COVIDOne of the most important strategies Australia has used to protect people and manage the spread of COVID has been to close non-critical workplaces and for these people and organisations to operate from their employees homes. There is little doubt that this shift has allowed many businesses to continue and has reduced higher levels of unemployment and accompanying issues. As a result of the COVID pandemic, the most significant and sudden change for many organisations, including those in the legal profession, has been the shift from office-based working to working from home. The impact of this has been felt at both a personal and professional level.Over the last 24 months most law firms have found ways to successfully support their clients and employees, maintain commercial viability and for many, to even grow their businesses.Flexible working programs have provided organisational resilience and commercial continuity.There is little doubt that the ability of firms to transition to remote working so quickly was more seamless than it would have been as little as five years ago. During this time investment in developing the technology and processes to support flexible working has improved dramatically and enabled many firms to quickly expand their working from home option as circumstances dictated. Legal Sector Situation Before COVID, we already understood that flexibility had become increasingly important to a AusLSA Members as they sought to balance competing life opportunities and priorities. We observed that more and more Australian law firms were successfully adjusting the way they worked and their systems that allowed people to contribute effectively and efficiently to their firm by providing more time and location flexibility.FORMAL POLICY PAID PARENTAL LEAVEYes 100% Yes 100%26'