A recent survey sponsored by Citrix Online indicates that 23% percent of Americans (myself included) use Web technology to work from home on a regular basis. Another 62% say that the ability to work from home is something they would like to have. There are many reasons for this trend – availability of high-speed Internet, flexibility of schedule, lower commute times, high gas prices, lower overhead, and more family time are all likely factors. For all of those reasons, this trend is likely to continue.
Many of my law firm clients have been reluctant to follow this trend. I recall one busy firm where grumbling associates were working at their desks until 8 or 9 every night. We all know that associates put in long hours, but they would certainly be happier putting in some of those hours in a more relaxed, flexible way. Needless to say, turnover was high among associates at this firm. If 62% percent of survey participants are any indication, firms that offer more flexibility have a leg up on hiring and retaining the right people.
As some of you know, I moved my office home last summer and now have a virtual office in which all of my staff and associates work also work from their homes. Many people who I mention this to comment that it must take great discipline to get things done, despite the many distractions at home. I have actually found it quite the opposite. If anything, I find that it is too easy to work at home. I very often find myself working 14, 16, and sometimes 18 hour days. When your office is 30 seconds away, the temptation is high to always finish one last thing.