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April 30 2020

How to cope with COVID

Legal Career Tips

Louise Anderson

Louise Anderson

How to cope with COVID

Sophie Gould, Head of Learning and Development at F-LEX, chaired another great virtual lunch yesterday in collaboration with LexisNexis and Crafty Counsel. These sessions connect paralegals, trainees and junior lawyers, and encourage top tips, resources and camaraderie to be shared in the legal community during these challenging times. It was great to see a mix of new and familiar faces join the call.

We want to go to Italy and working from home is honing our multitasking skills

F-LEX’s Bryher Rose opened the discussions by posing polls on bucket-list destinations and skills recently honed as a result of working from home. Jamaica, Japan, and New Zealand were all popular choices to visit, with Italy taking the number one spot. Discipline, time-management and the ability to multitask were the skills most commonly developed by remote working. A short quiz featuring Harry Potter, US states and different types of grape also tested the trivia knowledge of attendees - congratulations to Logan for claiming first place!

Where do you want to travel to?

What skills are you learning by working from home

For the second part of the call we were joined by the wonderful Danielle Sharkey, Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, who shared the challenges she has personally encountered whilst working from home. Broadly, these have fallen into three categories: Health and Wellbeing; Productivity and Stress; and Visibility.

We need to keep our bodies and minds healthy
With gyms closed and outdoor exercise restricted, Danielle has found online resources invaluable for maintaining fitness and keeping energy levels high. A few recommendations are:

  • Barry’s UK (Instagram Live)

  • CirqLife (Instagram Live)

  • RWL (Instagram Live)

  • Gymbox (Instagram Live)

  • Body Coach (You Tube)

  • Davina McCall ‘Own Your Goals’ (OYG)

Another important point to note is that mental health must not be forgotten. Mental resilience and clarity is vital for our overall wellbeing. Mindfulness apps such as Headspace and Calm, as well as meditation podcasts and YouTube videos can be a great way to unwind and mentally detach yourself from work after a long day.

Recognise your accomplishments, no matter how big
For Danielle, planning her day and writing down lists of tasks helps her recognise her accomplishments for the day and minimises stress levels. By jotting down ad-hoc tasks and ticking them off, it becomes easier to visualise the jobs that you are doing, and even small tasks such as responding to emails and calls start to contribute towards a feeling of productivity! Another top tip is to break your day down into time increments and integrate regular, 5-10 minute breaks so that you can get away from your desk and stretch your legs.

Be open with your capacity and offer to help out
Whilst working from home, it can be easy to feel ‘invisible’ if you do not have frequent contact and interactions with your team. To help avoid this, Danielle recommends a proactive approach to your work and openness about your capacity. By looking for tasks to tick off instead of waiting for them to be allocated, your sense of contribution increases and colleagues who may have heavier workloads are also benefited. By consistently adding value to your company through writing articles, updating ‘how to’ guides, and collating relevant news stories, feelings of invisibility soon dissipate! A few other ways Danielle’s team have encouraged social interactions are:

  • Virtual coffee shops - 20 minute coffee breaks via video call to catch up with colleagues

  • Team workout sessions - some healthy competition never goes amiss!

  • Regular check-ins with your supervisor to discuss workload and general wellbeing

THE GOLDEN TIP TO TAKE AWAY: Don’t be afraid to reach out and share your struggles with friends, colleagues and supervisors! Everyone is facing the same challenges, and these challenges are best tackled as a team!A huge thank you to Danielle for taking the time to share her insights.

Further virtual sessions will be held every Wednesday throughout May from 12:30pm-1pm.