Brett Dixon, Brett Dixon Training Limited, north west
'Lockdown, whilst necessary, is an emotional rollercoaster. From worry, through boredom to moments of absolute hilarity. Working from home is the norm and we have now mostly all got the working patterns and tech that works for us sorted.
Each of us has a personal story about that journey but there is a common pattern.
First, were the urgent things. For me, this was easier as I was a regular remote worker. Anybody who was not can be justifiably proud that they got over the tech hurdle quickly. For me, the focus was on what could be done to solve some of the problems the lockdown was causing and could cause, in the civil justice system. The Law Society has been very active in that regard.
Second, is the day-to-day business. Making sure that the work you did is being done remotely and done well. I have learnt so much in the last few weeks about video conferencing, and as a regular training provider, about video streaming.
Third, is looking forward. Lockdown will end and we need to learn the lessons: what can we take from it to work more efficiently in the future and what had been allowed to decay over time before lockdown so that it caused problems. This is the part we all need to start thinking about now.'
Karen Jackson, managing director, didlaw
'We have a longstanding home working policy. We can work uninterrupted at home however our working parents have to work and be teacher. Others have to share a home office with a partner who is also working. And we are all cooped up indoors which is no fun. We all just need to be a little flexible and a whole lot more tolerant right now. We need to be creative and keep the team connected by video conferencing. If staff need to work altered hours to fit in around the kids, that’s fine. If a toddler is at our virtual team meeting because she’s just woken up that’s fine too. It’s up to staff when they work as long as clients know how to reach them.
Tell your people it’s fine. Be kind. The main thing is that we all have to get through this with as little extra stress as possible. The other key messages I’m sharing are that it’s OK to be worried and it’s OK to be stressed. Saying that out loud actually reduces the impact. I’m quite clear on my role as a leader: it’s to reassure my team and get them through this.'
Sebastian Charles, Aardvark Planning Law, Northamptonshire
'The lockdown has turned the planning system on its head. Legal processes that were deadline driven and revolved around public events: consultations, planning committee meetings, hearings and public inquiries, have temporarily gone out of the window. The system hasn’t stopped completely, I attended my first virtual planning committee meeting last week and secured a much-needed permission for a healthcare client.
When we founded Aardvark from scratch four years ago, we designed our IT and administration to be agile from the outset, as we were often doing public events, and meeting clients, all over the country. So thankfully we can fully function working remotely, and are currently busy on existing and new projects. We can get things done, but it isn’t quite as much fun as it used to be. We are very much an ideas-driven firm, and the office used to be alive and buzzing. We are still in touch with each other, and the clients are getting the help they need, but there aren’t so many laughs and we are all missing the social interaction. But we know how important planning is going to be for getting the economy back on track. Focusing on that positive challenge is keeping us all going.'
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.