The New Zealand Law Society has released guidelines for working remotely.
The guidance, which the top lawyer body said applies to both private practice and in-house lawyers, provides a framework to tackle ethical and practical issues related to working remotely as a member of the legal profession.
The Law society said that flexible-working arrangements are becoming popular because of its advantages that include opportunities for increased productivity, technology making it a viable option, reduced overheads, and elimination of commutes thereby saving time and money and reducing stress.
The arrangements can also improve work-life balance and increase overall staff satisfaction and retention rates.
However, there are also potential drawbacks, which include isolation and lack or regular face-to-face interaction with colleagues, clients, and other members of the profession. Flexible working also increases the risk of home life and work life impinging on each other. It can also bring about risks to confidentiality, privacy, and the safety of customers or clients and other people living at the residence.
The practice briefing outlines considerations lawyers must think about to benefit from flexible-working arrangements, while reducing the drawbacks.
These considerations include working out a clear policy for work-from-home and remote-working arrangements, separating work and home life, creating a dedicated work space, looking after clients and their information, looking after the lawyer’s own welfare, and considering personal safety, duties to the courts and clients, and supervision of employees.
The Law Society’s remote-working practice briefing can be found here.