EMPLOYEE INSIGHTS - WORKING FROM HOME DURING THE PANDEMIC

2020 has been a difficult year for us all and we have all had to adjust to new ways of working. Hear from our employees on their experiences and tips to remain connected during the pandemic.

 

Chris Howley, Facilities Manager

As Facilities Manager I have a good mix of working between home and the office. On the days I’m at home it’s important to have a routine, so I still get ready and dressed as normal and have a lunch break at roughly the same time each day.

I’ve set up my workstation to be as comfortable as possible, and make sure I have regular short breaks throughout the day and sometimes will set up my desk to stand mode.

After the working day I like to exercise with either a bike ride or workout. This is partly to keep in shape but also, as I don’t have my normal drive from work, this time acts as a buffer between work and home so I can get my brain back into domestic mode.

Communication is key, not just for working successfully, but also for morale and mental wellbeing, so the Operations Team communicate regularly via email and Microsoft Teams. We also have a weekly team catch up which can be work related as well as a general chat.

When lockdown begun back in March 2020, there were several issues for the Operations Team to tackle. Initially one priority, in conjunction with IT, was to ensure that everyone had the equipment they needed to work just as effectively at home. This involved either meeting individuals at the office so they could collect chairs, monitors, headsets etc., or even making a few home deliveries to those who were unable to make it into the office.

After redirecting our mail and cancelling all our regular services, (water bottles, fruit delivery, shredding collections etc.), we then looked at making the office COVID-19 safe. After asking our employees of any concerns, as well as having professional consultation, we created a COVID-19 risk assessment and safe working policy. The risk assessment and policy are regularly reviewed and updated.

With most employees now working from home, it is important to conduct display screen equipment assessments to make sure everyone’s workstation is set up correctly. Assessment forms were sent out as well as advice on working at home safely. Where issues have been identified, extra equipment has been provided or advice given.

Morale and mental wellbeing are particularly important now, so the Operations Team have arranged a few online quizzes and raffles as well as sending out home exercising tips and guides on identifying and coping with stress. The main message being to talk to someone if you need to.

Throughout the lockdown period we have also put in place other measures to ensure a safe, eventual return to the office, including Perspex screens on desks, sanitizer, and alcohol wipes throughout the offices, a one-way system, safety signs, hand towels instead of dryers and even an external parcel box so delivery drivers don’t need to enter the building. With less people in the building, required numbers of fire wardens and first aiders have changed slightly, but we continue to ensure we have always at least the required amount in the office. In addition, unused taps have been flushed through weekly to make sure Legionella doesn’t build up in the system.

When the lockdown restrictions eased during the summer, we put in place a rota system for a safe return to the office and thankfully everyone who come back said that they felt safe with the measures in place. We also made sure that there was enough equipment so that employees didn’t have to carry monitors, chairs etc. to and from the office.

All in all, there have been a few challenges but nothing insurmountable, and the Operations Team are pleased to have done our bit to keep Arc Legal fully operational.

 

Peter Harvey, Deputy Chief Executive

We have all had to adjust to new ways of working over the past year. My role pre-COVID included regularly working from home so fortunately I had a dedicated work area set up and a good routine; what I wasn’t prepared for was the whole family being at home and the home schooling….

I aim to start each day before 7 with a walk; the odd day I do not make my morning walk, I definitely feel the impact by late afternoon. During the early lockdown when the kids were at home, having a break at lunch time with the family was an important part of the day.

Regular engagement with our teams has been paramount over the past year and has certainly helped with general wellbeing, which has been our main business priority. However, getting time off Microsoft Teams is sometimes a challenge!

Whilst COVID-19 has brought many challenges this year, our business has had a successful 2020. The technology now available is second to none and has allowed us to continue to drive the business forward through a global pandemic.

I’m looking forward to some normality in 2021 with face-to-face meetings with business partners and the roll-out of our group integrations plans which is an exciting time.

 

Anna Petica, Finance Business Partner

Having spent most of my working life in a finance role, remote working has been a completely new concept for me. Being quite disciplined, this has helped me to adjust to the new ways of working and I have found that a regular routine is a must to stay motivated.

My morning routine is unchanged, I still dress as if it was another day in the office; I take regular tea/coffee breaks and my dedicated workspace allows me to easily transaction from work to home mode. Planning my activities for the day helps me to keep the work/home balance which helps me to switch off at the end of the day. My role involves a high level of analysis and working from home has allowed me to focus on the task in hand with minimal disruption.

Overall, I really enjoy working from home, it gives me a greater work/home balance which allows me to spend more quality time with my family. Spending less time in traffic is also a bonus! I do miss not seeing my colleagues daily, but we do speak regularly via MS Teams which is important to stay mentally healthy.

I know that many people are struggling with mental health during these uncertain times but think by staying focused on the positives really helps to get you through the day. Going for a walk, run or another form of exercise is perfect to keep us moving and stay healthy.

The biggest lesson I have learned whilst working from home is to rely and believe in myself to become more independent, self-motivated, and proactive.

I hope that 2021 will bring back the normality we once knew. I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends, without any restrictions, and cannot wait to go on holiday as I missed out this year!

 

Michael Jenkins, Head of Legal Advice

All of our legal advisors are now working safely from home, and we are able to take calls in the same way we would back in the office. We’ve seen a significant increase in call volumes, but that is what we would expect in such unprecedented times.

It’s a difficult time for everyone and we want to reassure our customers that we are still here, should they need legal advice.

 

Ieva Andraityte, Corporate Relations & MI Manager

In a corporate relations role, we are used to working away from the office, as travelling is normally a key requirement of the job. The current situation is different in many ways, however we are now all finding our balance, and most importantly we are continuing to provide a high level of service to our partners by embracing the various communication tools available to keep in touch, such as video conferencing.

I'm finding some personal benefits too, no one would have expected me to go running in the morning before a working day!

 

Michael Cutmore, Head of Legal Services

Working from home has brought new challenges to working. You are not surrounded by the support and inspiration of your colleagues but with the modern ways of communicating, such as MS Teams, we are still able to have daily catch ups with our teams to ensure they have the support they need.

The teams response has been fantastic and we have been able to continue to provide a high level of service to claimants.

 

Tom Moger, Commercial Director

The first week has been surreal but our teams have been amazing as they continue to settle into their new environments. It is now very important that my commercial team focus on continuing our service to our corporate clients.

Luckily, at home we picked up a new addition to the family before lockdown commenced… Lego has been instrumental in boosting morale and serving as an alternate source of conversation for my wife when work takes precedence across our new bank of desks ‘our kitchen table.

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