Is Working From Home Better?
Telecommuting work is on the rise and, in the US, the figure climbed up to 37% compared to 30% in the last 10 years and up 4 times from 9% in 1995 according to the survey conducted by Gallup’s Work and Education poll. In the field of law practice, the 2015 ABA TECHREPORT on Virtual Law Practice revealed interesting data. In 2014, three-quarters of respondents stated that they worked from home and the rest reported they did not believe it was necessary. Although the majority reported telecommuting, when surveyed in 2015, 25% of them said they worked virtually more than once a week. An overwhelming 42% of the sample group said they telecommuted less than once a month. The data points out that the majority of lawyers see working outside of the office as an occasional activity than a regular practice.
Who Can Telecommute?
Any attorney can telecommute given that a lot of the work done by a lawyer can actually be performed outside the office such as emailing, researching and phone calls. Even meetings can be held via teleconferencing. Paralegals and legal writers are also good positions for telecommuting as well as contract analysts who provide a broad range of services including legal opinions and recommendations.
“The main benefit of working from home is perceived increase in productivity by working more hours linked to the absence of a commute and elimination of distractions such as answering phone calls, colleagues dropping in and ambient noise which reduces concentration.”
Types of Law Practice Conducive to Telecommuting
Family law, contracts, estates and wills are areas of law practice that do not require full-time presence in the office. These types of activities can be easily done remotely through the internet, video and phone calls.
Advantages of Telecommuting
The main benefit of working from home is perceived increase in productivity by working more hours linked to the absence of a commute and elimination of distractions such as answering phone calls, colleagues dropping in and ambient noise which reduces concentration. Moreover, communication is enhanced due to the limited personal interaction between colleagues. Meetings are planned in advance and participants are more prepared reducing waste of time. Other benefits include reduced child care costs, clothing bills and the creation of balanced lives for lawyers.
Issues of Working from Home
Problems that may arise from telecommuting may be technical in nature such as computing and communications systems or sensitivity of data stored at home. The ABA Report revealed that respondents who said they lack the technology to work from home increased from 8% in 2014 to 12% in 2015. There is also the stigma attached to lawyers who are home-based. It might impede opportunities for career advancement. Overall, the number of telecommuters who worked from home plummeted from 88% in 2014 to 80% last year. The exact reasons are difficult to pinpoint, but can be attributed to the issue of separating the lines between work and home.