The job market in e-discovery and across the legal industry is definitely in the middle of something. It’s not clear whether it’s the beginning, middle or end of something, but it’s definitely something.
At ACEDS, we have never seen more inquiries about open positions, and we’ve never seen the lateral and upskill movement that we hear about from our membership. Complicating all of this is the COVID-19 pandemic and the fits and starts that come along with a public health crisis. Employers are not sure if they are opening their offices, and employees are not sure if they want to return to the office.
Many years before the pandemic, I became an advocate for permitting staff to work from home. My thinking, quite simply, was that if employees could perform their essential functions by logging in from home and by using a telephone, why not? An added benefit was that employees appreciated this flexibility. It became a perk. And in an industry in which work-life balance is so important, what conceivable harm could come to the business?
I caught some heat from firm leadership for launching a pilot program that allowed staff to intermittently work from home to determine if it was possible. Now, after several years working exclusively from home, and managing a team that also works remotely, I’m wondering more intently about what, if any, harm there may be.
Putting aside that we’ve redefined business casual to mean an untucked dress shirt, shorts and flip flops, there is a lot to be said about working from home. I’ve found it provides greater opportunities to focus and concentrate. I don’t think I’ve ever been more productive than I have been while working from home.
I’ve also saved more time and a lot of money by working from home. The aforementioned dress code? I don’t know about everyone else, but I have not been to a dry cleaner in two years. My commute pre-pandemic was three hours round-trip and cost $500 a month. And then there’s lunch, coffees, drinks after work, and the occasional dinner out—all of which cost money, too.
At times we may miss the connections that we make at an in-person workplace, but there is no longer any doubt that we can work from home. The question is whether that’s where the future of employment is heading permanently?
Check out this article from Jared Coseglia at TRU Staffing, an ACEDS partner and a recruiter in the space for decades. He has some interesting insights on the job market.
And be sure to check out our periodic Eye on ESI webcasts where we talk with Jared about the job market.