The Evolving Workplace: A Junior/Senior Perspective
By Verna Fisher
August 17, 2023 | 3-minute read
Marketing Management and Leadership Firm Organizational Structure and Dynamics Content Type Article
While workplaces were evolving even before COVID-19, the past three years have caused a need for quick changes and adaptability at all levels of companies and law firms. A big part of this has been driven by the changing technology landscape. Computers, webinars, apps, programs and electronic communication have become crucial, helping employees transition into remote and hybrid work environments smoothly.
To better understand how the pandemic and the evolution of a work environment now heavily reliant upon technology has impacted a law firm marketing team, the author spoke with two industry professionals from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s Manhattan, New York, office: Jennifer Manton, managing director and chief marketing/business development officer, and Brittany Komar, marketing and business development systems manager. Read the Q&A below for their takes on technology evolution, working collaboratively with people in multiple locations, the hybrid work environment and more.
Note: The opinions expressed by the Q&A participants are their own and not reflective of Kramer Levin's views.
How does working in the post-COVID era compare to the pre-pandemic era?
Jennifer Manton (JM): Learning to work and manage a team in a hybrid environment required learning new skills and lessening reliance on pre-COVID business norms. For example, conversations are now less spontaneous and require more planning, including a choice in format and channel through which to have the conversation.
Brittany Komar (BK): Employees are more focused on their health and self-autonomy — they have always wanted more work-life balance, and now it’s finally here. The hybrid work model means you actually have time to walk your dog or take your children to school. It also means you can flex your work time because you’re not rushing to catch a bus or train. Overall, I think productivity has increased.
How have you seen work expectations change?
JM: The lines of the workday have become more blurred. With remote work comes increased flexibility and control over when you do your work but the trade-off is that — to an even greater extent than before COVID — there is an expectation that you will be available 24/7.
BK: With the option to work anywhere and anytime, there is an increased level of connectivity, and it’s expected that you are always available, present and collaborative — even when in different physical locations.
Have there been shifts in leadership, and, if so, can you comment on how those shifts impacted your firm?
JM: Leadership has become more decentralized. With a remote workforce, teams and team leaders are establishing best practices and policies for maintaining and enhancing productivity in a hybrid work environment.
BK: There has been a shift to inclusive leadership as well as a heightened interest in the experiences and needs of employees. Leaders are more focused on empathy and flexibility, and are actively working on satisfying employee needs, which results in better work performance.
How has technology evolved at your firm over the last few years?
JM: Generally, there is a greater reliance on collaboration tools and technology now. All employees with the ability to perform their work remotely have been provided the technology provided to do that.
Increased reliance on technology has also added complexity to marketing strategies and tactics, such as conducting events, as well as the complexity of collaborating and staying connected with your clients and colleagues.
BK: Technology has become more integrated into our daily lives and has improved communication. Two-way dialogue is important, and we now have many means of achieving that through chat/instant message, mobile apps and webinars.
How do you view working with different generations?
JM: Inclusivity across the generations is essential to ensuring I have perspective and experience to inform strategies and tactics.
BK: Kramer Levin strives to have a community with a wide range of perspectives, experiences and social identities. Each generation provides a valuable skillset to better our workspace and work product.