My working life has certainly been a different experience, since March 2020!
When the first lockdown was announced, we were all working from home. Since then, for me, not much has changed and I remain working from home, save for a few days during the Summer/Autumn when I met with some clients in the office.
What has working from home been like?
Thankfully HJA were already set up for remote working. I was already working from home 2 days a week and so the transition to working from home full time was not a difficult one.
What I did however find difficult in the first lockdown was that now I was not only having to do my own work remotely, I also had to be a primary school teacher to my daughter as well as being the home cleaner, chef etc. I can’t pretend that I found those initial couple of months of lockdown easy. There were just not enough hours in the day!
Thankfully gradually things settled down.
In the early days my email inbox would be full of virtual meetings and training courses.
One of the most difficult things was that now all court hearings were to be carried out remotely and this meant that the bundles of documents all had to be prepared in a way that could be easily accessed and read by the Court and all parties involved – the E- bundle!
This was not an easy task and I have to give full credit to my assistant and Paralegal Chris Bond who was a star at producing these. The task was made all the more frustrating when we finally would get all the documents prepared and organised only, for example, to find out 2 days before a court hearing that it had been adjourned!
Day-to-day communication with my clients has been made via WhatsApp, by mobile phone and the majority of meetings now take place via Zoom, which took a little bit of getting used to but I have to confess that I can certainly see the advantages of these in terms of cutting out the travel arrangements and being much quicker. On the other hand, I do miss meeting clients in person as I think that there are certain benefits of meeting someone face-to-face that you just cannot achieve online!
Impact of Covid on my personal injury clients
I know that many of my clients have been frustrated by Covid-19. Their appointments and surgeries have been cancelled and their medical care and support has been disrupted.
When dealing with their claims I have also found it difficult to arrange medico-legal appointments with many appointments being cancelled and re-arranged. This has slowed down the whole process of the claim. In addition the courts have also been challenged by the impact of the coronavirus with many cases being delayed.
I know many people have struggled during lockdown and I appreciate that motivation and loneliness have been huge issues for some people. At Hodge Jones & Allen we have held regular meetings to keep everyone in the loop and hopefully to help keep spirits high!
I have stayed sane during these troubled times by keeping active – I am a keen runner and in addition I have been making sure that I spend some quality time with my busy family as well as keeping in touch with friends and relatives online.
We don’t know what the remainder of 2021 will bring. I’m hoping that by Spring/Summer things will ease and the lockdown restrictions won’t be so, well, restrictive! It would be great to be able to go out and into a shop without having to wear a mask and have my glasses steam up!! I do however think that the last year has changed the way in which we all work and I cannot see us just going back to how it was! I think that to a certain extent the Zoom or online meeting is here to stay!