Staff at a major London law firm have been told they can work from home permanently – but will have to take a 20% pay cut.
Managing partners at Stephenson Harwood are offering lawyers and other staff the opportunity as businesses across the city try to move beyond office-only work in a post-pandemic cultural shift toward flexible, remote models.
The firm’s junior solicitors have a starting salary of £90,000, meaning anyone taking up the offer would lose around £18,000.
Stephenson Harwood, one of the UK’s 50 highest earning law firms and headquartered in London, employs over 1,100 people and has offices in Paris, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore and in South Korea.
A company spokesperson told The Times that the new working policy would apply to staff in its London office and most of the company’s international offices. However, partners will not be eligible. Full Partners receive an average of £685,000 per year.
The new pay sacrifice for a comprehensive remote working policy is introduced after the company’s experience recruiting lawyers during the coronavirus pandemic who were not based in London, where the cost of living tends to be higher.
However, the company said it expected only a few employees to adopt the full-time work-from-home option because “for the vast majority of our employees, our hybrid work policy is working well.”
Staff already have the option to work remotely two days a week.
“Like so many companies, we see the value of being in the office together on a regular basis, while being able to provide flexibility for our employees,” the spokesperson said.
While many companies are looking for ways to entice workers who thrive on flexible and remote working to return to the office, Airbnb has gone the other way, announcing that its staff can live and work wherever they want.
On Thursday, Airbnb co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky tweeted that employees could work from anywhere in the country they live in without taking a pay cut.
Additionally, he said staff have the option to ‘live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location’, under a plan which will also involve ‘most’ staff logging on in person for about a week. every three months.
Last month a pilot scheme involving more than 3,000 workers from 60 companies across Britain taking part in a four-day working week trial was announced.
The program, considered the largest trial in the world, will initially run from June to December.
It comes as pressure for companies to adopt a shorter working week – especially without losing wages while aiming for higher productivity – is gaining momentum as a way to improve working conditions.