Daniela Mahapatra, NWSSP Legal & Risk Services, Cardiff
'I’m head of the employment team for NHS Wales. I am also a mum, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Working from home for the last seven weeks has been an interesting and rewarding experience. It has also been lonely and stressful at times.
Our organisation was well prepared to facilitate a move to working from home. At first it was a novelty but as the days and weeks have passed we’ve discovered how important it is to have interaction with colleagues. The ability to spin around in your chair to ask, "Can I just run something by you?", the "Anyone fancy a cuppa?" signal that means a well-earned break from your desk and a laugh or two with a colleague. I never thought I would miss going into our open plan office quite so much.
Since the start of lockdown, our teams have provided legal support in respect of field hospital transformations, large scale procurement exercises and guidance for our 90,000 employees, often at short notice.
It is a privilege to work for the NHS, never more so than at this very moment. Working behind the scenes, the hard work of those at all levels is overwhelming. It seems that almost overnight, the way things had always been done changed. The attitude across all our divisions and across the NHS more widely has been 'Yes, we will find a way'.
The way our staff have pulled together to support one another with weekly quizzes, wellbeing coffee breaks, evening catch ups for those who might be isolating alone and daily check-ins has been nothing short of wonderful.
I am not sure what sort of 'normal' we will return to. The way we work has adapted and changed as has the way we interact with the courts and tribunals. But I am excited about what the future holds. A better way of working. And even greater national pride in our National Health Service.'
Ollie Grech, JLD Executive Committee member, Devonshires
'For me the key thing has been adapting to a new life style. I have often been outspoken against working from home as I always thought I’d need an office environment to work effectively. However, with the right equipment and a new routine, I’ve been able to adapt. Dare I say, I’ll be hoping to work from home more in the future once this is all over.
I started out working alone from my partner's dressing room (which is slowly being converted into an office if I get my way!) but realised quickly this wasn’t working. My partner and I now work in the same room of our house which gives a sort of office atmosphere which I was missing.
What has made lockdown more manageable has been the support from Devonshires. I’d like to give special thanks to my colleagues, supervisor and the management team. It seems whenever anxiety started to set in, an email would drop in my inbox full of reassurances or I’d receive a supportive call from my supervisor. Sometimes it’s just good to hear that everything will be OK!
The only thing I can’t adapt to is the amount of quizzes…'
John Wadham, Law Society human rights committee member, independent consultant, London
‘I am used to working from home (I have three human rights part-time roles) but not being able to travel to offices and meet the colleagues I work with makes work much more isolating. One of the roles is human rights advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board but I cannot visit the office because there are no flights from Stansted (where I live) to Belfast. With all the new powers the police have it is a busy time for me. Some days I seem to be in endless online meetings – I prefer seeing the people I am talking to – so I use Zoom rather than conference calls.
Meanwhile both of my children have been ill – I guess with Covid-19 but, thankfully, not bad enough to have to go to hospital (but therefore not tested).
Not having to travel for meetings has, however, reduced stress levels and I am now even growing vegetables in the garden. The high point of our week is now having a takeaway (and, more importantly, not having to prepare food for the kids).’
Leo Goatley, Law Society Art Group member
Herd Immunity 2020
Acrylic on canvas.
'This work reflects on the dilemma of the present pandemic. Its image derived originally from the Law Society Art Group weekend visit to Stroud, Gloucestershire in 2018 and some sketches I did at the gate from St.Laurence Churchyard to the Stroud market place.'
Fishermen at Dawn 2018
Acrylic on canvas.
'This painting is based on several sketches I did on the Marsaxlokk, Malta as the fishermen prepared their colourful little boats. The quayside is lined with dozens of fish restaurants where diners are guaranteed freshly caught fish washed down with a good bottle of wine.'