Working from home as a trainee

“Unprecedented” and “uncertainty” are words that we are hearing every day as the coronavirus pandemic grows globally. What is certain, however, is that the vast majority of the country will be working from home for the foreseeable future. Obviously, the coronavirus presents a set of completely unprecedented circumstances that we, as a society, must learn to cope with and adapt to. As schools shut and the possibility of a lockdown becomes increasingly imminent, companies around the world are trying to act fast to mitigate the effect of the virus on business and the global economy. As a trainee who has recently moved into a new team, working from home and working together with my team is something that I am going to have to learn to do simultaneously. It is both a worrying and exciting prospect as the situation we find ourselves in is very different from what could be considered “normal” for a trainee.

Staying in touch

In order to try and stay in the loop, my team have set up both daily Skype meetings and also a WhatsApp group. This is extremely useful as it allows me to connect with the team and get to know them a little better each day despite being physically far away from them. It is important to stay connected to my team but also to people in general, as this time of working and being at home a lot more than I am accustomed to, definitely has the potential to cause a feeling of isolation. Just hearing voices and seeing faces goes a long way in preventing this and is something that I will seek to do as the crisis continues. As well as talking about work-related matters, talking about regular things and having a laugh is in the best interests of everyone. This is something that my team has been great at and it has been amazing to see how they have all adapted so well in the early stages of working from home permanently.

What are the positives for me?

Working from home can be seen as a hindrance for my training but I have been trying to see the positives and the bigger picture for the future. I believe that the consequences of coronavirus will be massive and will result in an increasing amount of the working population working from home permanently. This experience as a trainee will only help improve my ability to use technology as a means of communication and also allow me to feel able to perform tasks on my own with no immediate help available. Other positives are that: we can work outside (in the unlikely event that it’s sunny), we can take regular breaks, there is no travel time to and from work (so we save time), and working hours are much more flexible for people with dependents or who need to change their hours for various reasons. It is harder to see the bigger picture in a time like this but I think if we all stick together and adapt to our new circumstances, we will come out of it more efficient and productive as teams and individuals than ever before.

Adapting to the new trainee way of working

I think that my training for the next few months (at least) will be very different from what is considered normal for a trainee. The nature of the work my team is doing for our clients is already changing and we will need to learn in very different ways. Members of every team will have to adapt their working hours to accommodate childcare responsibilities as the schools close. Additional research tasks and blog writing will be top of my list of priorities at moments where I am quiet. This will be beneficial in the future and increase my knowledge of different areas of law which relate to my role and will, in turn, make me a better lawyer.

My team have been great, and I am sure will continue to be, and are very open to me asking questions and getting me involved in any work that comes in. I look forward to the challenge that will be faced through working from home. For me, as worrying as coronavirus is for our society, the new challenge is something that I will do my best to make the most of.

Conclusion

Working from home is in everyone’s interest in this time of great uncertainty and above anything else, we will need to learn to cope in order to prevent further spread of the virus – and I am more than happy to adapt if it means keeping myself and others safe. The health and wellbeing of the country is more important than anything else. I hope everyone copes well with the challenge ahead and, above all else, stays safe.