These are unprecedented times. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our work, family and social dynamics. With most of Europe locked down, restoring some kind of normality to our lives will take time.
In our new ‘Day in the Life of a Remote Worker’ series, we talk to some of our colleagues to learn about their new reality as remote workers – and how they are rising to the challenge to continue to provide the very best service to our clients and candidates.
Despite the chaos of a young family, Jan Colligan, Associate Director for our Legal division in Birmingham, is taking homeworking in his stride. Although it has been a hair raising experience at times…
How are you adapting to homeworking during Coronavirus?
Jan: Homeworking for any real length of time is relatively new for me as I have always enjoyed the office and team environment. It took a week or so to find my groove, however thankfully I stumbled upon a routine that works for me, my family and the legal community that I support.
What are the main obstacles and how are you getting round them?
Jan: I have certainly missed having people around to chat through ideas, share thoughts or even laugh at my jokes. We are in various work WhatsApp groups, use Microsoft Teams regularly and ironically seem to be a closer unit across the office network than before.
With the distraction of children, how do you remain focused and productive?
Jan: We call it organised chaos! Home schooling the girls, aged 8 and 10, has allowed me to really put into practice my negotiation skills. Add a six month old baby into the mix and the days are pretty full on! I have certainly focused on an old school to do list, people to call, projects to search, marketing initiatives, and setting up video interviews. Rather than 9-5, I have tended to work in two-hour chunks throughout the day, with time to support my wife and kids, keeping everyone happy, safe, entertained, fed and watered. I try and stay active with a run and game of football with the girls at lunchtime.
What are you doing to communicate with your team and the wider organisation?
Jan: We talk regularly, share ideas, success stories as well as take part in virtual training sessions. Our global leadership team have also been very visible, giving us useful strategic insight from other territories. Our HR function has also ensured we talk regularly, providing plenty of wellbeing advice.
How do you maintain effective interaction with client and candidates?
Jan: Block out time in the diary for calls, dedicated email slots, sharing plenty of thought leadership and advice, and generally checking in with people to say hello. Chatting hands free while pushing a pram during my daily walk is a great multi-tasking tip.
What are you enjoying most about working from home?
Jan: Time with the kids at a more comfortable pace, no commute, eating meals as a family, which is usually a rarity. I have even got back into running (slowly) and cooking.
Any advice for working remotely?
Jan: Try and keep a routine and your patience. Learn to switch off and make sure you have a weekend, as the lines have blurred a little. Don’t put pressure on yourself juggling everything, we are all doing the best we can. Finally don’t let your wife cut your hair…
You can get in touch with Jan Colligan to discuss your Legal recruitment needs or if you want advice about your career and the options available to you.