My experience of home working
- AuthorKevin Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan, an Insolvency Partner, tells us about his experience working from home.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, I was never keen on working from home – mainly because I never had the set-up and preferred the convenience and comforts of working in an office. Of course, when the outbreak hit the country, it forced a great number of us to work from home where possible and so, like many, I had little choice but to make the best of it.
The first couple of days were fine, working on the dining room table in a quiet house (my wife was still at her office and the children were in school). I dreaded what it would be like when the schools closed the following week! But over that first weekend before the lockdown was announced, I adapted the spare bedroom into an office so I have a clear space in which to work and where I can escape from St Sullivan’s Primary Home School downstairs.
Joe Wicks keeps the children busy first thing every morning (I’ve even had a go a couple of times – ouch!) and they’ve been working their way through the material their school regularly uploads online for them. On the whole, they’ve been pretty good, enabling me to concentrate on my work in relative peace and quiet.
In my experience, we litigators have always been fastidious about printing out virtually all emails and documents we send and receive. We’ve convinced ourselves we should do this to make it easier to produce hearing and trial bundles. Due to concerns around GDPR, this practice has had to stop whilst working from home.
I’ve quickly overcome the automatic reflex to press ‘print’ and as a result found it quite liberating. I can’t see myself going back to my old ways when the office reopens. The reality is that, most of the time, I can work without hard copy documents and we’ve introduced some software to produce electronic bundles so there will definitely be no excuses going forward.
Sure, there have been a few IT gripes along the way. That was only to be expected. But I’ve learnt some hacks and can cure a couple of the regular problems myself now. Our IT team has been very good at quickly getting us all up and running remotely as well as giving us hints and tips to help us adjust to our new set ups.
Working with just one screen has been frustrating (First World Problems, eh?) but I’m going to buy a lead to connect up my work and home computers so I can operate two screens like I did in the office. (I suspect the children may have something to say about that though).
Staying in contact with colleagues, clients and business partners has been fairly easy. I’ve had numerous video calls using Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp which, by and large, work very well. It’s quite interesting too, seeing what people have got on their bookshelves. Usually old French dictionaries it would seem!
I’m fortunate to have a back garden, which my new home office overlooks. That, coupled with the nice weather recently, has definitely put a nice gloss on working from home during the lockdown. I’d be kidding myself if I said it hasn’t. Half an hour’s lunch sat in the garden has been quite pleasant!
Even when things return to “normal” – whenever that may be and whatever that may look like – the lockdown has made me realise that remote working will be a part of how I operate going forward. I can see that it has brought agile working into sharper focus with lots of businesses – including my firm – keen to seize the long-term opportunities which our enforced absence from the office has created.
So, overall a positive experience and one I can see staying with me throughout the rest of my career. It’s made me re-evaluate how I work, where I work, how I communicate and, in some ways, how I live my life now. There again, ask me in three months’ time if I still feel the same…