A partner’s away on vacation, so his secretary is kicking back a bit: arriving late and taking extended lunch breaks. But is working at a leisurely pace bad? Or is there a better way to manage workflow so that, when that partner is around, the secretary doesn’t have to churn out work like a maniac and then pray for a breather when he’s away?

Yet, while one person is slacking, a nearby staffer with a foot-high in-box could be seething — and that will impact productivity as well as morale. The challenge for law firms is to juggle staff workloads while building in a bit of wiggle room — either for the inevitable “drop everything” rush jobs, or even to give a staffer some downtime before the next intense project. So how can you best keep tabs on productivity and avoid a “feast or famine” workload for your staff? Here are a few options.

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