April 23 2020
Joining F-LEX in a pandemic
So I’m now six or so weeks into my new role as Head of the Northern Hub at F-LEX and WHAT A TIME to start a new job!
When I said I was looking for a new challenge, this wasn’t quite what I had expected but I’m so pleased to have made the move.
Here are some reflections on the first 30 days:
Armed with hand sanitiser and post holiday energy, I travelled to London for my first few days. Although this was my official start date, the team had already made a massive effort to include me from the moment I accepted the job offer. I had attended events, received weekly updates and met many of the team in the months before so I wasn’t feeling the usual first day nerves. I was welcomed with a goody bag of branded merch and a new shiny MacBook, and spent the first three days learning the ropes and meeting colleagues over lunches, coffee dates and after work drinks.
During this week there was one thing, and one thing only, that people were talking about; Coronavirus. Will we go into lockdown? Should we work from home? Are you stockpiling toilet roll? Should I be stockpiling toilet roll? Are you panicking? Am I panicking?!?! Everyone had their own views on this pandemic and it became a great way to bond with colleagues. I was in the same boat as everyone else from day one.
I spent Thursday in the rather empty Manchester office and by Friday we were working from home.
The Government Daily Briefings started this week and the situation became increasingly more serious. I had quite a few meetings planned with Clients in Manchester but one by one they were cancelled.
It was a fast moving week and the gears were shifting almost hourly; my ‘90 day plan’ was out the window. I was feeling the need to roll up my sleeves and get stuck into something quickly so I offered to help with anything and everything. I wrote my first blog for FLEX, joined calls and meetings and offered to lead on a new sales project.
By my third week, Boris had announced that the UK was officially locked down. I was feeling ahead of the curve with my new routine and I was actually really enjoying the whole ‘work from home’ experience at this point.
FLEX introduced “elevenses”; time at 11am each Friday for the team to come together to chat about anything non-work related. As a newbie, these gestures are a great way to feel included and to continue to build relationships.
Even though all the team are remote working, some even as far away as Austria and New Zealand, it doesn’t feel remote. We’re constantly using Zoom, Slack and G-Suite to work and bar the odd WiFi connection problem, the tech is holding up well.
My role is to connect Northern Law Grads with Northern Law Firms for on demand work. It’s about helping the next generation, the local economy and the legal industry. It’s an exciting brief that ticked many boxes for me when I was looking for a new job last year.
By now I’ve spoken to most of the Universities who have been pleased to hear that F-LEX is continuing to onboard students and share opportunities. It’s a worrying time for many students with training contracts and VAC schemes even more sparse than usual but we’re hopeful that the legal industry will boom as lawyers work out the implications of Coronavirus.
On the Law Firm side, we find that many are busy working through the shock of the lockdown and discussing new partnerships is naturally not high on their priority list right now. They say ‘when fishermen can’t go to sea, they make nets’ so I’ve been using this time to work on various projects to help us for when things pick up again such as improving our CRM tool, HubSpot. In the last few weeks we’ve worked with Ali to customise our data fields, build new sales pipelines and stages, agree terminology for our process, create automation, clean up our data and create dashboards. It’s been a good way to thoroughly understand how the business works and I’m hopeful this will be useful in the future.