17 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JULY 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM justice to the client but leave our second home alone. This will always be a reality where one will have a responsibility towards clients, deadlines to meet, the need to prioritize work, and manage the client’s expectations,” says Prince Singh, a senior associate at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Understanding management and senior lawyers’ preferences for in-person sessions for better collaboration and communication, Singh suggests that leaders try improving trust between colleagues by promoting transparency, adjusting the expectations for work hours, and sharing the target billable hours to visualize impact. To address the return-to-office tug-of-war, consultants at Hong Kongbased personnel management firm Human Dynamic Group (HDG) note that it’s imperative to identify the root cause of the cognitive gap between young lawyers prioritizing flexibility in work options and management’s lack of enthusiasm towards it. “One possible cause of this gap can be attributed to the global phenomenon of productivity paranoia, particularly observed during the pandemic. Workplace leadership may be influenced by a prevailing belief that their staff is not being productive enough, despite the presence of metrics indicating otherwise. “This paranoia around productivity can lead to scepticism towards flexible work options, as management may fear a potential decline in productivity if employees have more freedom in their work arrangements,” says HDG. “The crux of the matter lies in addressing the foundational principles of productivity and performance management in the workplace,” which involves reevaluating and challenging old practices related to productivity and fostering a results-oriented mindset instead, according to HDG. Management should also nurture a culture of openness and trust by involving employees in the firm’s decision-making processes, thus cultivating a sense of ownership and accountability among the workforce. Ridhima Khanduja, HR and talent advisory APMEA practice leader at Kincentric Malaysia, believes firms need to be flexible and agile to meet the evolving needs of their employees by finding innovative ways to encourage collaboration among remote workers while ensuring that the workforce remains aligned with the culture, expectations, and business goals of the company. NO ROOM FOR NOSTALGIA Coping with heavy workloads and stringent client demands, working in law can sometimes feel disorienting, even for seasoned practitioners. But for young lawyers first dipping their toes into society, many find some of the behaviours of their supposed mentors to be unhelpful at best. For example, several junior attorneys told ALB that they have often borne the brunt of the “I’ve been through this, so should you” mentality exhibited by some senior lawyers, which, in their opinion, exemplified the kind of toxicity that has been dogging the legal industry. “The ‘I’ve been through this, so should you’ attitude is a common one Image (Clockwise): Pond Saksit/; Sergey Nivens/; TimeImage Production/; Nattakorn_Maneerat/ COVER STORY