Specialist legal recruiter Emilia Casaus gives advice on how legal professionals should approach working from home during this unprecedented time
The number of lawyers who are working remotely has surged recently due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. For some, this will be a challenging time, but the legal sector thrives on remote working, and legal teams up and down the country will likely rise to the challenge. It may also pose some benefits. Studies have suggested that lawyers who take advantage of home working are more productive and use less sick leave than their colleagues.
That being said, some lawyers and legal professionals will find the next few months a daunting prospect and may worry about their motivation and productivity dropping as a result of working from home. We recently asked Emilia Casaus, a specialist legal recruiter from Sellick Partnership to get her advice on how legal professionals should approach working from home during this unprecedented time.
Don’t get overwhelmed
Law as a profession is incredibly mobile, and with the help of technology the work of a lawyer can now be taken almost anywhere. Most lawyers will practice outside of the office and not even realise it– think about client meetings, tribunals and court. View working from home as another ‘out of office’ location and you will be completely fine.
Stay in touch with your colleagues
It is important to stay in touch and continue to work as a team. Set up video meetings with colleagues and make sure you continue to collaborate as much as physically possible. Most firms, and some councils, will have multiple offices or counterparts in other parts of the country (or in other counties). As such they will likely be accustomed to virtual meetings and liaising via media, so ask what technology is available to you and utilise it as much as you can.
Stay up-to-date with legal updates
The current legal landscape is changing rapidly, and not having your colleagues nearby will give you less exposure to what is going on in the sector. To counteract this, spend 10 or 15 minutes each day reading up on what has been happening. You might also want to phone a colleague and have a chat. Keeping your knowledge up-to-date is essential to keep your brain active – especially if you find yourself having to self-isolate in the coming weeks.
Create a distinct workspace in your home
Create an office somewhere in your house if you can. If that isn’t possible, set up a work space away from where you usually relax. This is important as you need to have defined work and relaxing spaces when working from home for a prolonged period of time. I always find facing a window also helps keep me feeling fresh and motivated throughout the day.
Set some boundaries with yourself
We all know the legal sector can be labour intensive and involve a lot of hours, but it is important to try and set some boundaries if you suddenly find yourself working remotely full-time. Try to avoid checking your emails during non-work hours, have a walk at lunchtime, leave your phone at home and switch off in the evenings and close the door on your office space. If you mix work and play too much you will drain yourself and you won’t be as productive.
Manage distractions as best as you can
With mandatory 'remote working', stress and distractions from work will undoubtedly increase. You will need to balance your work and home life effectively, so it is important to manage any distractions around you. You don’t want a repeat of that infamous Sky News segment when you are on an important conference call.
Stick to a routine
Stick to as normal routine as you would in the office. If you host a regular Monday team meeting stick to it. If you do specific tasks on specific days, stick to that too. It is important to keep your working day as familiar as possible to keep you motivated. You also need to plan well. Give yourself set times for certain tasks, such as responding to emails first thing, LinkedIn time, client specific work, checking in with colleagues, etc. This will keep you on track and help ensure your motivation levels remain high.
Emilia Casaus, specialist legal recruiter, Sellick Partnership