This article written by Alliance President & CEO, Manar Morales was published by Chief Executive on February 9, 2024.

Hybrid work is here to stay. According to the 2024 CEO Survey from The Conference Board, only 4% of US CEOs will prioritize a full-time return to the office this year, while retaining talent will remain a critical area of focus. Employees highly value flexibility, so it makes sense that CEOs plan to give it to them in this historically tight labor market.

For almost two decades, I’ve advised organizations on flexible work and culture change.  When organizations effectively implement flexible work policies, I’ve seen that they boost metrics across the board—engagement, talent retention, innovation, productivity and profit. When they don’t implement effectively, they struggle, often citing flexible work policies as the problem.  The truth is that failures of flexible work usually stem from the following five pitfalls of ineffective implementation. The good news is, for every pitfall, there’s a fix.

Read the full article here.

This article written by Alliance President & CEO, Manar Morales was published by Fast Company on February 2, 2024.

The workplace is changing. Technological innovations in fields like artificial intelligence are transforming organizations at a breakneck pace. Ongoing economic uncertainty is leading to layoffs and higher workloads. It’s difficult for many workers to keep up.

Given increased pressures, it’s not surprising that workplace stress and burnout is on the rise.  According to The Economist, 68% of managers and 60% of non-managers reported being burned out in the past 12 months. One-third of U.S. workers say their mental health is getting worse due to long hours, excessive workloads, and other factors, according to a survey from the Conference Board.

The potential cost of unwell workers is significant. Burnout drives absenteeism, job dissatisfaction, depression, and more, according to the American Psychological Association.  Most workers who report decreased mental health also report lower levels of engagement…

Read the full article here.

This article written by Alliance President & CEO, Manar Morales was published in the October issue of the NALP Bulletin.

We are living in an uncertain, sometimes volatile, world. Our workplaces have been impacted by this uncertainty becoming more complex. Obviously, in 2020 COVID-19 turned everything we knew on its end and forced us all to reevaluate the way we work. But beyond the pandemic, there are a myriad of new forces at play affecting today’s workplaces.

For the first time, we have five generations of talent working together in the legal industry. Two of those generations are “digital first,” meaning they grew up with technology. Further, many of those new to the workforce in the last three years have never worked fulltime in-person in the office. As we think about the hybrid workplace, consider that connecting in person does not come naturally to some in your workforce.

Additionally, technology is growing at a rate faster than many can keep up with. For example, artificial intelligence is advancing and expanding its reach before we really understand its true capabilities and impact. In fact, in just two short months Chat GPT reached one hundred million users!

The global economy is uncertain. The global climate is volatile. The political climate is unpredictable at best.

I do not say this to be alarmist, but to put the evolution of the workplace in context. I often say, “The way that 9/11 forever changed the way we travel, COVID will forever change the way we work.” We’re not going back to the pre-COVID workplace. We need to accept that the evolution of the workplace must go handin-hand with the way the world is changing. The future of work is much bigger than simply adapting to the challenges and opportunities COVID brought about.

Read the full article here.

This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360 on August 11 and in its newsletter on August 14.


Workplace flexibility and caregiver leave have always been important talent recruitment, retention and advancement tools as well as drivers of diversity.

But these initiatives took on even greater significance as the pandemic presented law firms with a daunting challenge when business-as-usual was not an option.

It became even more crucial for firms to figure out how to use flexibility and leave to maintain the success, productivity, engagement and loyalty of their employees, who were struggling to meet extraordinary personal and family needs imposed by COVID-19.

Providing comprehensive paid caregiver leave to all employees enhances their health, engagement and loyalty by demonstrating that the firm cares about, and is willing to invest in, them and their families. Healthy, engaged and loyal employees are more likely to deliver strong performance and support recruitment and retention of a diverse, world-class team.

Read the full article here.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

Many organizations are reimagining their workplace and embracing hybrid work, in which employees will spend some time working in the office and some time working from home. However, in order to implement a successful hybrid work environment, organizations must set up the right infrastructure, employees need to adopt new work behaviors and skills, and managers need to lead differently. We focused a number of action steps on organizational infrastructure needed, including: Creating a Successful Onboarding and Integration Program, Building Your Training Program to Support Your Post-Pandemic Hybrid Work Environment, Maintaining Mentoring & Connection in a Hybrid Environment, and Overcoming the Myth of the Loss of 5Cs By Building the Right Flex Infrastructure. We produced an action step last month on ways individuals can set themselves up for success in a hybrid environment: Tips for Individual Success in a Hybrid Environment. Now we want to focus on ways managers can lead most effectively in a hybrid environment. Here are the Alliance’s recommendations:

Members: continue reading this Action Step in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

Anyone responsible for their organization’s flexible working policy should make sure to read Manar Morales’ recent article published in Law 360. The article, entitled 5 Steps for Law Firms Rethinking Flexible Work Post-COVID outlines how firms should Reflect, Reimagine, Recalibrate, Recommit and Reinforce when redesigning their firm’s flexible working policy.


It’s critical that you view flexibility with a completely new lens. Moving forward, flexibility should be a fundamental element of every firm’s strategic plan to recruit, retain and advance top talent.

Manar Morales

President & CEO

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

In Law 360 (May 14, 2021)



For more details and strategies related to this 5 Step Framework, register for our Flex Launch Bootcamp to be held June 28 and 29, 2021.


This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on July 15, 2020.

As states begin to lift restrictions and people emerge from the shutdown, law firms are developing their strategies for reopening offices after weeks of remote working.

Many firms will find that it’s not as simple as it sounds, and there are countless intricacies to consider before employees return. While most firms will focus on ensuring physical spaces are as safe as possible, it’s equally important to consider the impact reopening decisions will have on your firm’s culture of inclusivity moving forward.

Firms will clearly focus on safety measures such as social distancing guidelines, the use of masks and gloves, plexiglass dividers, temperature checks, bathroom and cafeteria limits, and frequent sanitization. Additionally, many offices will choose to bring employees back in phases or have them alternate days in the office. However, even with all the protective measures in place, experts agree that nowhere will be 100% safe from the virus until there is a vaccine or cure.

Consequently, firm leaders are facing extremely difficult decisions regarding how and when to reopen the office and who should return. When contemplating these significant questions, firms should consider the following tips to maintain fairness and support a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.

Continue Reading on here.

This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on May 14, 2020.


A successful team is made up of individuals who perform their responsibilities, support each other, and possess the flexibility to pivot and meet the needs of their coworkers.

While law firms have always functioned in teams, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified this equation and exponentially increased the need for cohesive teamwork at all levels. In order to ensure smooth operations during remote work and navigate the uncertain road ahead, each team member needs to commit to his or her unique role, intensify support for colleagues, and support the idea of flexible flexibility.

The Role of Chairs and Partners

During this pandemic (and beyond), leadership plays a critical role in setting the tone and navigating the course. All staff and attorneys are dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, and in many cases, increased caregiver responsibilities and isolation. Firm leadership should take this opportunity to demonstrate gratitude, empathy and commitment to their teams by:

Sustaining Morale

It’s particularly important for chairs and partners to relay optimism and empathy while remaining realistic during this pivotal time. To sustain employee morale and engagement during remote work, firm leaders should continuously send messages that reinforce the notion of “we’re in this together” to reassure employees and combat feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Continue Reading on here.

This article was published  April 16, 2020 in THRIVE GLOBAL.

By Manar Morales, President & CEO, The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

There’s no doubt we’re living through one of the darkest and most uncertain times in modern history. We’re anxious and overwhelmed by the news of so many people affected by COVID-19 and the corresponding financial damage. However, many of us are fortunate to be able to work from home as we shelter in place and distance ourselves from others.  In the midst of so much heartache and chaos, we’re grateful to maintain our professional responsibilities, continue to receive a paycheck and stay home safe with our families.

Ultimately, it’s this gratitude that will help us through this struggle and is critical to remote working success during the pandemic. The most important tool in your crisis-mandated remote working toolkit is mindset. We may not be able to control the chaos around us, but we can control our mindset and outlook. It’s essential to train your mind to focus on what you’re grateful for and what’s going well. Once you’ve focused on the positives, other strategies critical to your remote working toolkit include:


Create a routine that works for you, your colleagues, and your family. Wake up at the same time and identify blocks of time when you can work most effectively (i.e. early in the morning, late at night, or when the kids are doing online schoolwork). Make sure to communicate these and any changes in timeframes with your team.


Finding a quiet space where you can focus solely on your work will help you transition from your personal responsibilities to your professional obligations. Even without a dedicated home office space, a quiet corner will help you maintain focus and productivity.


While in person meetings are restricted, virtual and written communication should be increased. Be proactive; outreach to your supervisor and colleagues and make sure to communicate when you’re available for calls and video chats. Provide email updates on projects and express realistic expectations and deadlines. Some projects may be temporarily shifted to the back burner and others will become priorities.


Seek out resources if you need training on new technology or if you need mental health support. Turn to your employee resource group or affinity group for support and connect with peers, mentors, and sponsors.  Provide and solicit feedback on how things are going; be open to solving challenges with colleagues during this unique and difficult time.


It’s important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically, especially during times of crisis.  Take a walk or engage in some kind of physical activity each day. Try to maintain healthy eating habits and reach out to friends regularly.


In a recent article I explained how important it is for business leaders to be optimistic, empathetic, and realistic as they weather the challenges of maintaining  business continuity during this crisis.  It really boils down to everyone being flexible. Dogs will be barking and kids will be heard during phone calls. You may not always be prepared to be on a video call, and that’s OK. It’s really up to all of us to come together, be flexible, and do our best right now.

In time, we’ll return to our physical offices. But in the meantime, care for your families, lean on your friends and co-workers, and rely on these success strategies in your remote working toolkit.

We are here to help you navigate your crisis-mandated telecommuting plan. Please contact Manar Morales to schedule a complimentary call today.

This article was published  April 3, 2020 in THRIVE GLOBAL.

By Manar Morales, President & CEO, The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Many organizations around the country have completed their first week or two of transitioning to working remotely. No one knows exactly how long this stay-at-home mandate will last or the extent of the economic or mental health impact. With no clear end in sight, we must prepare for the long haul. Telecommuting 100% of the time for 100% of staff may be the new normal for US businesses and firms for several months.

However, there is a Bright Spot for business leaders during the COVID-19 stay-at-home mandate. This crisis provides leaders with an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate their gratitude, empathy and commitment to their employees at this pivotal time. My suggestion to business leaders is take this unique opportunity to shine and focus on being optimistic, human, and realistic.

Be Optimistic

Just like Presidents in war time, business leaders are faced with the challenge of setting the tone and sustaining employee morale and engagement. During this crisis-related remote working, it’s essential that business leaders increase their communication to their teams to reassure them and ensure that no one is left feeling isolated or overwhelmed. The more vocal and positive the leader, the less anxious the employees will be. Business leaders must continuously send a message of optimism and hopefulness. Employees will need to sense a “We’re in this together” tone and know that their leaders are there to support them during the crisis.

Be Human

It’s equally important for business leaders to demonstrate their humanity. Undoubtedly, leaders are feeling just as much stress, fear and anxiety as everyone else. It’s critically important for leaders to walk the delicate balance of being positive while also demonstrating that they too are human and they have the same stresses and challenges. Take the time to ask your team members how they are doing personally and share a humorous story about your family life. Explain that babies crying and dogs barking during calls are to be expected. Clearly communicate your schedule of availability and encourage your team to do the same. And, finally, understand that some employees may need remote working training, technology stipends or mental health resources to successfully complete their responsibilities at home.

Be Realistic

The reality is that business leaders will need to temporarily redefine their expectations. While in normal times you may expect to receive immediate responses from your team members, you may now need to be more realistic about deadlines, clarify expectations and prioritize workflow. It’s important to understand that some employees may only be able to work for a few hours at a time while their children are occupied or their babies are sleeping. Understand that some may need to take sick leave if they become ill or to care for sick family members. It’s very important to understand that this is not the same as everyday telecommuting where an employee is expected to perform at the same level as they would in the office. The reality is that with all the obstacles we are facing right now — including school, care center, church, restaurant and gym closures coupled with increased stress, anxiety and illness — this crisis-related telecommuting will look very different.

One day we will go back to business as usual and your employees will remember how they were treated. How do you want to be remembered as a leader? You now have the unique opportunity to increase loyalty…or lose it.


We are here to help you navigate your crisis-mandated telecommuting plan. Please contact Manar Morales to schedule a complimentary call today.