COVID-19 has significantly changed the way that enterprises organise themselves and work. With social distancing being a key measure for battling the pandemic, adopting work from home practices has been the solution to allow organisations to remain operational while also looking after their people and meeting their social responsibilities. The changes that this has brought will be permanent moving forward, and how business leaders work with a legal recruitment agency will change in kind.
Respected analyst firm, Gartner, has found that post-pandemic 41 per cent of employees will continue to work remotely. They may split their time between home and the office, or they may continue to work from home exclusively. Enterprises should be encouraged to allow this, as research also shows that remote workers are more productive and tend to have higher levels of morale in their work, but the changes that this brings need to be accounted for – particularly with regards to business continuity and risk management
The role of a legal recruitment agency in this new normal
The In-House Counsel team will need to focus on several core new priorities as organisations settle into a future that involves much more extensive remote work policy. There are two areas that will need renewed policy and focus driven across the organisation:
1) Technology – For remote workers to do their job, they’ll need to connect to the workplace network remotely, and this creates a host of new technology-driven risks, from the storage of sensitive data in public clouds through to the use of insecure consumer technology (home PCs, off-the-shelf modem/routers and printers) creating a greater “surface area” for hackers. Where In-House Counsel teams may have previously worked to limit the risk by resisting remote work policy, developing new policy that enables remote work while also protecting organisations from the severe data leak penalties in Australia will be priority #1.
2) People Policy – Remote work is shifting everything from the hours that people work (with the expectation of there being more flexibility in work hours) to concerns about promotions and mentorship when it’s harder to be a physical presence in a person’s direct reports and the business leadership. The legal team will need to develop new frameworks that address a more flexible workplace and to protect against these new HR concerns.
Finally, there is also the reality that COVID-19 has driven a business downturn to grapple with, and organisations will need to manage downsizing and cashflow issues with a business continuity focus as well. In this a legal recruitment agency can help business leaders find a specific set of skills in In-House Counsel to help Australian enterprises grapple with business continuity challenges that we have not faced in a generation.