Working from home post COVID?

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throwaway90

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Working from home post COVID?

Post by throwaway90 » Thu Nov 26, 2020 5:12 pm

WFH has seriously improved my quality of life in biglaw. I’m young with no dependents, so I don’t mind the biglaw hours all that much (most of the time). What I despise is the FaceTime requirements. My firm (pre-Covid) expected us to be in the office five days a week from 9-6 at the very least (often much longer), and it was miserable for me. WFH has made me so much happier. Originally, I thought I’d only do biglaw for 2-4 years. With WFH, I think I can stick it out for much longer.

Now, when I’m slow, I can hang out with my spouse (also WFH, but at a less demanding job) and our dog. I can do laundry or cook or workout. I don’t have to sit in an office and stare at a wall. I also save so much time with WFH. I don’t have to commute or spend time doing my hair or makeup.

I’m an introvert, and while I like the people I work with, we don’t have a ton in common outside of work and I’m not itching to spend time with them. I’m not super worried about building relationships as I have no interest in being a partner or anything like that. (Honestly though, I don’t think my relationships have suffered due to WFH, but that could be the introvert in me).

I’m incredibly depressed at the thought of spending five days a week in an office from 8-6 (and very often longer) again. I’m not sure I can do it, but I haven’t been in biglaw long enough to go in house or anything yet.

I’d be happy never going into an office again, honestly, but I know that isn’t realistic for almost any job. However, working from home 1-2 days per week would seriously improve my quality of life. Pre-COVID, working remotely more than once a month or so (and for a reason) wasn’t really accepted among juniors at my firm. Does anyone think their firm will become more accepting of working from home a couple of days a week post-Covid? Has anyone heard anything about how WFH will a couple of days a week be viewed post COVID? If my firm doesn’t become more flexible, I would love to lateral to a firm that allows associates to WFH frequently.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:04 pm

Same situation here. The thought of going into the office even 2-3 times a week sounds like hell. I've talked to the senior partners in my group and they seem split. Some are eager to get back to the office either because they are old fashioned boomers or because they derive all their daily satisfaction from office interactions and want to get away from their families (this is extremely sad IMO). Other partners like the remote setup but worry about the impact on training.

I do miss seeing people in person from time to time. My ideal setup is permanent remote work where I come into the office for events and meetings periodically at predetermined times (but no more than once a month). If I can't pull off a long term remote setup here I will be actively looking to lateral somewhere I can, but I'm pretty senior so I think I can pull it off. It might be harder if you are a first or second year.

I honestly don't "get" people who want to go back to the office but I recognize that I'm an introvert and people have other personalities (and I have the same issue as you in terms of not relating to my coworkers). Seriously though, extroverts, cant you get your social interaction outside of work?

I would love to hear more testimony about how other firms are thinking about this.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:04 pm
I honestly don't "get" people who want to go back to the office but I recognize that I'm an introvert and people have other personalities (and I have the same issue as you in terms of not relating to my coworkers). Seriously though, extroverts, cant you get your social interaction outside of work?

I would love to hear more testimony about how other firms are thinking about this.
Seriously. Maybe it’s because I am not in love with my job, but it’s important to me to maintain some kind of social life outside of work, even with the biglaw lifestyle. Some of my coworkers seem to just spend 100% of their time either working or socializing with people they work with, etc. I guess going into the office is important to them because they don’t have anything else? I’m not sure.

I would 100000% rather spend time with my spouse and dog than anyone I work with honestly.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:19 pm

My firm is not going to allow more than 1 day WFH, I think. The partners are already talking about how WFH is deteriorating the culture of the firm (lol). I know a few partners who said it may be a trade-off kind of situation where they will allow associates to WFH, but those who chose to do so won’t have offices. I don’t think most firms have discussed it in-depth because they seem to think associates are dying to come back to the office.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:08 am

I think it could be helpful if people are willing to share which firms they work for (anon of course) and their firms' stance on WFH.

Like others, my firm's partners are pretty mixed on returning to work. My department though is taking a stance of doing whatever each of us prefers. I'm thinking WFH with at most 1 or 2 days a week back in the office once COVID is totally free and clear.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:08 am
I think it could be helpful if people are willing to share which firms they work for (anon of course) and their firms' stance on WFH.

Like others, my firm's partners are pretty mixed on returning to work. My department though is taking a stance of doing whatever each of us prefers. I'm thinking WFH with at most 1 or 2 days a week back in the office once COVID is totally free and clear.
So which firm is this?

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papermateflair

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by papermateflair » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:28 pm

My practice group is lobbying firm leadership hard to stay pretty much WFH after this is over - trying to "pilot" it out in a post-COVID world. A couple of the partners have pretty strongly said they don't want to go back to the office. My firm's leadership doesn't seem super supportive of permanent WFH, but associates in all different groups are trying to do their best to push for the same networking and other interactive opportunities while we're working from home, on the theory that if we can show that we can still have strong relationships and get the work done, then the firm can't use that as an excuse to not let us WFH at least half the time. Not sure if it'll work, but we'll see. If the partners can see that the work is just as good, the associates are just as connected/attached to their jobs, AND they can save money by having less real estate? I don't know what they wouldn't be open to this. But it may depend on when everyone is required to be back in the office - if it's in March 2021 (haha yeah right) then that's different than if we don't go back until fall 2021 or even 2022. It'll be hard to overcome inertia the longer folks are working from home - especially once childcare issues are resolved.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:52 pm

about to start V50 biglaw in a secondary market (Chicago, LA, Houston/Dallas). I haven't worked in biglaw yet but I did work before law school. I actually want to return to a world where daily in office is the norm. I like having a personal office, going out for coffee breaks and a short commute (~10-20 min max). I am single with no other obligations and working in a downtown area actually seems nice. For associates with 1-bedroom apartments, WFH doesn't seem automatically that great? I totally understand partners or senior associates that want WFH because they have big houses and families. Part of the biglaw perk is the personal office and facilities. If WFH become permanent and your salary stays the same, then you lose a benefit (sure the firm saves money, but who cares unless they pass that savings on to you). I am not an extrovert by any means, but I like going out each day and being in populated areas, walking, moving, and seeing.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by throwaway90 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:52 pm
about to start V50 biglaw in a secondary market (Chicago, LA, Houston/Dallas). I haven't worked in biglaw yet but I did work before law school. I actually want to return to a world where daily in office is the norm. I like having a personal office, going out for coffee breaks and a short commute (~10-20 min max). I am single with no other obligations and working in a downtown area actually seems nice. For associates with 1-bedroom apartments, WFH doesn't seem automatically that great? I totally understand partners or senior associates that want WFH because they have big houses and families. Part of the biglaw perk is the personal office and facilities. If WFH become permanent and your salary stays the same, then you lose a benefit (sure the firm saves money, but who cares unless they pass that savings on to you). I am not an extrovert by any means, but I like going out each day and being in populated areas, walking, moving, and seeing.
I understand all of this and I think I’d be more open to going into the office regularly if I worked a true 9-5 without so many slow periods (even if it’s just an hour or two).

It sucks to be in an office all day and only bill four hours because I’m waiting on a client or partner or whatever. I could use my free time to exercise, do laundry, cook a meal.. literally anything other than sitting in an office waiting on someone else so that I can work.

This is why I think WFH a couple of days a week is a great compromise. Those of us for whom WFH has greatly increased our quality of life can still get a bit of that, and those who want to be in an office can still go to the office regularly or even daily.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:52 pm
about to start V50 biglaw in a secondary market (Chicago, LA, Houston/Dallas). I haven't worked in biglaw yet but I did work before law school. I actually want to return to a world where daily in office is the norm. I like having a personal office, going out for coffee breaks and a short commute (~10-20 min max). I am single with no other obligations and working in a downtown area actually seems nice. For associates with 1-bedroom apartments, WFH doesn't seem automatically that great? I totally understand partners or senior associates that want WFH because they have big houses and families. Part of the biglaw perk is the personal office and facilities. If WFH become permanent and your salary stays the same, then you lose a benefit (sure the firm saves money, but who cares unless they pass that savings on to you). I am not an extrovert by any means, but I like going out each day and being in populated areas, walking, moving, and seeing.
You'll understand better when you start working in the office (if that ever happens). Commuting to and from the office and going to the cafeteria (which surely will be scaled down) gets old fast. I am still able to do all the things you describe, except I hang out in my neighborhood instead of around the office which is way better.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by NoLongerALurker » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:59 pm

I’m with you OP. I’ll sit here and Bill 2k per year indefinitely at this point if I’m WFH. But as soon as I’m ordered back to office I’m going to look to leave. I’d have left by now if Covid hadn’t had the side effect of extending my big law career haha.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:12 pm

Also, I feel like a lot of anti-WFH people are conflating WFH with the lockdown. WFH definitely sucks when nothing's open and you have no social outlet. But the two things are separate.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:53 pm

Earlier anon who likes being in an office.

For my part, not conflating, I just prefer being in the office. Lots of WE pre law school and yes I enjoyed the occasional WFH day but on the whole liked being at work. Many of my colleagues did as well. Just sharing because earlier posts said they don’t “get it”. Some people do actually like going outside of their homes for work. Though I don’t have a family, I could see where even some with happy loving families might still appreciate leaving the home during the day.

Some people love WFH and others don’t. I think it’s extreme however to cast those who don’t like WFH as all anti-happy personal life or total workaholics with zero other things or anything like that.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by wldecisions » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:54 pm

I would like WFH to be an option since life happens, but I would 100% prefer going back to office because the boundary between work and life is non-existent for me right now.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:59 pm

I work in NYC in Biglaw, have a wife, and a kid. I am 100% with OP on this. WFH has improved my quality of life dramatically. Not having to commute and actually seeing my family is a huge deal. It has made Biglaw not only bearable, but actually enjoyable and a really good job. I hope that we never go back to 5 days in the office a week. I might be able to stomach 2 days a week, but 5 days, when i am billing over 2,000 hours a year and have to commute, was hell. When I was going into the office, the constant long hours + commute + travel for hearings, depositions, etc. made it so there were some weeks where I barely saw my family. If you have a good personal/non-work life, it kinda sucks to have to go into the office 5 days a week tbh.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:46 pm

I'm agnostic on WFH, though I think more flexibility as you become more senior would be fair. (For every two class years, you can have one WFH day.) I'm a junior associate with a lot of pre-law WE. I have young kids, so WFH is both a blessing and a burden (I won't call it a curse). When going into the office, I have a 30-minute commute that gets closer to an hour when there is more traffic on the road so not having a commute would be awesome. But my wife and I knew what we signed up for when we embarked on this big law endeavor, so I will never complain about face time requirements.

I don't think it's unrealistic to believe that the culture won't be the same if people didn't come into the office. Law firms experience a lot of attrition/turnover, so at some point you're going to have a lot of new faces at the firm and they will have no idea what the culture of the office truly is. Pre-COVD I worked with some partners who were in the office every day and others that were in the office on average of five days a month or less. As a junior associate, there was a distinct difference between the level of comfort and ease I had with partners/senior associates that were in the office vs those that I basically only communicated with via email. I've also sent requests to colleagues and have had them ghost me all day. Being in the office makes it easier to get a response.

The growth and development of junior associates should be an important consideration in the WFH discussion. As a junior associate, I get that we're the lowest on the totem pole, but I do think there's a lot that being in the office can do for integrating us into not just the firm culture but the life of a law firm associate.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Serett » Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:46 pm
I'm agnostic on WFH, though I think more flexibility as you become more senior would be fair. (For every two class years, you can have one WFH day.) I'm a junior associate with a lot of pre-law WE. I have young kids, so WFH is both a blessing and a burden (I won't call it a curse). When going into the office, I have a 30-minute commute that gets closer to an hour when there is more traffic on the road so not having a commute would be awesome. But my wife and I knew what we signed up for when we embarked on this big law endeavor, so I will never complain about face time requirements.

I don't think it's unrealistic to believe that the culture won't be the same if people didn't come into the office. Law firms experience a lot of attrition/turnover, so at some point you're going to have a lot of new faces at the firm and they will have no idea what the culture of the office truly is. Pre-COVD I worked with some partners who were in the office every day and others that were in the office on average of five days a month or less. As a junior associate, there was a distinct difference between the level of comfort and ease I had with partners/senior associates that were in the office vs those that I basically only communicated with via email. I've also sent requests to colleagues and have had them ghost me all day. Being in the office makes it easier to get a response.

The growth and development of junior associates should be an important consideration in the WFH discussion. As a junior associate, I get that we're the lowest on the totem pole, but I do think there's a lot that being in the office can do for integrating us into not just the firm culture but the life of a law firm associate.
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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Ohiobumpkin » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:08 pm

I came in here hoping to commiserate about missing going into the office because it helps me think and allows me to talk with co-workers. Instead everyone seems to be dreading going back into the office. My employer has actually notified us that my department is permanently moving to a remote work arrangement (as in, even after COVID-19). It has its benefits, but I would like to come in at least a few days per week.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:53 pm
Earlier anon who likes being in an office.

For my part, not conflating, I just prefer being in the office. Lots of WE pre law school and yes I enjoyed the occasional WFH day but on the whole liked being at work. Many of my colleagues did as well. Just sharing because earlier posts said they don’t “get it”. Some people do actually like going outside of their homes for work. Though I don’t have a family, I could see where even some with happy loving families might still appreciate leaving the home during the day.

Some people love WFH and others don’t. I think it’s extreme however to cast those who don’t like WFH as all anti-happy personal life or total workaholics with zero other things or anything like that.

Prior pro-WFH anon here. People have different preferences and I respect that. In an ideal world we would all have a choice. But practically speaking, if a bunch of people go back to the office voluntarily then the rest of us will be dragged back too. I'm not sure what the solution is to that.

In terms of integrating junior associates, I still think periodic outings and practice group meetings would work to integrate them. I don't think regular in person meetings are necessary if people just use zoom. Lawyers are just very backwards in when it comes to utilizing technology.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by throwaway90 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:05 pm

I know I’m also guilty of veering off topic here, but can we try to stay on topic, friends? We could debate the merits of WFH all day, but that’s not why I made this thread.

I’m aware there are some benefits to going into the office at least somewhat regularly, and I’m certainly willing to do so. However, I love WFH, and even one day a week of WFH would improve my quality of life and extend my biglaw career. I’m curious to know how firms are approaching this and what people are hearing about WFH long-term. Personally, I haven’t really heard much from my firm, although I know all of the partners I work with are still WFH (I’m in a large, non-NYC market where our office was technically open for most of the fall, but no one went in).

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Dahl » Fri Nov 27, 2020 11:41 pm

In NYC, there will be a big push by the real estate sector and the city gvmt to get people back into offices to get the economy back up. Not sure about other cities. My friends who are partners have all expressed how surprised they are by the efficiency of wfh and that they enjoy it. But there are partners in BigLaw who like lording their power over juniors and it can be easier and maybe more fun to do that in person.

1-2 days wfh is a free easy benefit to give employees. I think it’s something Gen Z or the generation after them will demand as an option.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by WhatIsLaw69 » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:52 pm
about to start V50 biglaw in a secondary market (Chicago, LA, Houston/Dallas).
Forgive me, but aren't all of these considered major markets?

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:00 pm

The managing partner of our office has started telling their fellow partners to start coming into the office in order to pressure the associates to start coming into the office... really cool :roll:

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by throwaway90 » Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:00 pm
The managing partner of our office has started telling their fellow partners to start coming into the office in order to pressure the associates to start coming into the office... really cool :roll:
While COVID cases are the highest they’ve ever been? Yikes.

It’d be helpful if people at least shared which market they are in. I am in Texas. Our office is closed. It was open for much of the fall, but no one went in for anything other than to grab supplies that I’m aware of.

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Re: Working from home post COVID?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:35 pm

I'm just a stub, but I've overall been happy with WFH. The only downside is that training has become more difficult and more annoying. The webinars we have to attend are crap but I also can't see how they could improve. And I do miss the easy access to work I got by being in the office. But overall, being able to stay home in sweats has made the hours much more bearable, and I'm not afraid to email random people to get on matters, which has helped me get integrated quickly.

In my pre-law school job, I did WFH on M/F, and in-office work T/W/Th, which was pretty great. My firm doesn't have an issue with people WFH a couple times a week so I'll probably establish a similar schedule for myself once things are back to normal.

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