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Law firm cracks down on home workers

Slaughter and May requires staff to attend the office at least three days a week

Slaughter and May, a leading City law firm, set out stricter plans to monitor office attendance in an email to employees.

As reported by law firm website Roll on Friday, the email sent by managing partner Deborah Finkler, said that data on office attendance will be shared on a monthly basis with directors and HR, and staff falling short of requirements will be reprimanded.

The email stated: “Gate data (showing when people come into and leave the office) will be shared on a monthly basis with Group heads, Business Services directors and HR managers so you should assume that if you are not in the office (or at a client, in court etc.) in line with the policy, this will be raised with you and you will be asked to comply.”

Slaughter and May requires staff to attend the office at least three days a week. The firm declined to comment.

Read more: Return-to-office mandates are failing worldwide, study finds

The news follows research from HR software company Scalable Software which found that 35% of knowledge workers resent being told they have to go into the office for a set number of days.

The research found 62% of knowledge workers said their organisation had asked employees to return to office within the last two years.

Mark Cresswell, co-founder of Scalable Software, told HR magazine many employers are worried that working from home damages productivity.

Half (50%) of respondents to the survey said their employer has ‘productivity paranoia’ over employees working away from the office

Cresswell said: “Productivity paranoia is a worry for many businesses today. It’ll be hard to stamp out this concern completely, but it’s important for organisations to understand that working styles have evolved significantly over the past few years – and methods of measuring productivity need to evolve with them.”

Research from TonerGiant found 44% of UK employees would consider leaving their current job should they be asked to come into the office full-time.

Meanwhile, 41% of Brits think employees are less likely to get a promotion or pay rise if they don’t spend enough time in the office.

Alina Sarkissian is director of people at device intelligence company Fingerprint, where employees predominantly work remotely.

She told HR magazine: “Physical presence in an office doesn't guarantee greater productivity or commitment, and assumptions about dedication based solely on location often prove unfounded.

“By prioritising remote-first strategies, managers are better equipped to be deliberate about checking in with remote staff and finding ways for them to showcase critical projects. 

“At Fingerprint, employee performance is evaluated against predefined goals, and each function has specific career tracks and rubrics. Promotions are earned based on merit, individual contributions and alignment with business needs.”

Read more: Return to office or lose your promotion, Amazon says