Leading, flexible progressive law firm, Thackray Williams is getting ahead in all aspects. Not only are they in The Legal 500 as one of the top 500 law firms in the UK, but they’re also members of Law South, a group of twelve forward-thinking high-profile practices in the South of England.
Flexible working solving business challenges
When Ten2Two met Andrew Raby (Senior partner) and Vikki Herbert (Head of leasehold enfranchisement) at their Kent offices, we soon learned how diverse and visionary they really are. During the 2007/8 financial crisis, their property department was hit hard with a huge drop in new cases, but instead of letting people go, they looked at ways to retain staff with a reduction in working hours.
After detailed consultation, it was agreed the team would reduce to a 4-day week, rather than face making one redundancy. Vikki was one of the team members at the time and describes some of the benefits and challenges they faced.
The benefits of a 4-day working week
“By removing the threat of redundancy, our team became closer, actually working more effectively. This move promoted collegiality so people worked smarter, not harder. For example, they started working with a paperless system which ensured easier access to resources and information.”
“Thankfully, this new regime was short lived and the team were able to go back to full-time hours in less than a year. But some have continued on a 4-day working week. While there were some challenges at first, such as getting buy in from everyone in the department and thinking out working patterns to ensure standards did not drop, it was ultimately a big success for our business.”
Good communication is vital
Vikki adds that excellent communication was crucial to the success of their new flexible working strategy.
We’re inclined to agree – here at Ten2Two, it’s our experience as flexible and part-time recruiters of professionals that communication is the best way to succeed when implementing a new flexible working pattern.
Since then, Thackray Williams has constantly strived for ways to improve their service to their clients and working opportunities to their staff. They have been through some re-evaluation of the support department and now have shared support across the board. They have a clear flexible working policy, with arrangements for job share and part-time workers and remote working where appropriate. Vikki has seen her career thrive within the firm progressing to Head of the Leasehold Enfranchisement Dept, in addition to starting and growing her family with two periods of supported maternity leave.
Thackray Williams are a great example of a modern, forward-thinking company who are really benefiting from a sound flexible working strategy.