As 2021 draws to a close, the pandemic is in the throes of its latest wave of COVID-19, Omicron. With a name apt for a Marvel Comic’s villain, Omicron is highly contagious. It has been reaping havoc, with a spike in infection rates, hospitalisations and the reintroduction of lockdowns around the World. New lockdowns have been implemented in the Netherlands and Denmark with increased restrictions in France, Germany and other European nations.
In the UK, Boris Johnson’s government is holding off from announcing restrictions yet. However, the feeling is that restrictions may begin shortly after Christmas. Whether this is following the science or short-term political expediency falls outside the scope of this post (although my gut feeling points to the latter).
All of this foreshadows more working from home (or #WFH) in the short to medium term. Let’s face it, WFH is here to stay in some form or another.
Before the flare-up of the Omicron variant, my firm, like many others in the market, we’re moving to a hybrid work policy. Most large English law firms, often referred to as City Law firms, have adopted similar stances. Whilst the details vary, the spirit of the movement remains the same. People can work in the office anywhere from 1 to 3 days a week with the rest of the time working from home or otherwise remotely.
A senior partner in my team subtly but noticeably hauled me over the coals for not conforming to the minimum office attendance policy. “As partners, we are required to set an example” he enthused while admonishing me. In situations such as these, I find it wise to pick your battles. I could have easily railed against this very English telling off. I could have pointed to my excellent billings, client development, delegation of work, supervision of my team and wider contributions to the firm which were all possible while WFH. However, I simply agreed to pop into the office following the policy. I knew full well with Omicron in the offing, events would soon overtake our embryonic policy. Sometimes, saying less is more.