So, here we are it’s 2020, and working from home (or WFH as the hipsters like to abbreviate it) is the new norm. For those who dread the daily commute, office politics, or a horrible boss can now somewhat relax and embrace this revolution of work from home. Many find WFH can be challenging as the lack of social interaction and disgruntled work routine can be stressful however, that’s where innovative technology has created a virtual working environment. For in-house lawyers who are keen to continue with remote working, your employer will heavily monitor your workflow to ensure you perform the inherent requirements of your role and meet employer, client, and colleague expectations.
Before committing to working remotely, it’s essential that employees consider the type of work he/she can confidently perform from their home office. As technology improves for employees to WFH, be mindful that technology has also greatly improved for employers to thoroughly monitor employee workflow and performance (see PaaS technology). So before committing to the WFH option, it is worthwhile considering if working remotely best fits your working style.
In-house Lawyers are usually faced with a daily demand of on the spot requests from senior management, now being completely separate from the commercial team surroundings, WFH has created a very different working environment and if anything brings you back a Private Practice work model, which defeats the whole reason of moving in-house. So to adhere to this change, regular video calls and slack chats with senior management will keep you abreast of all non-legal and commercial matters, this will also reassure your manager that you’re constantly online and available as earning trust is crucial for this WFH model to succeed long term with your employer. Many home-based employees are not aware of the government tax incentives on offer, so ensure your working from home expenses are included in your annual tax statements.
Prioritisation of your day is imperative, Zoom calls have now become a 30-minute video call (half of which is non work related) and a far cry from the regular 5 minute chats at your colleague’s desk. Sticking to regular hours is tough however, many Legal Counsels working for US Tech Corporations feel they are working very erratic hours during Covid19, so try to stick to the company’s core working hours otherwise you’ll find yourself online after midnight. This is where time management is critical however difficult it may be for us poor suffering parents with young children, so take full advantage of the technology your employer offers and create a dedicated work area at home that is free from distraction and toddler tantrums! This might be a time to consider your home technology system, a reliable broadband connection is very important for Zoom calls and especially for Legal Counsels working within the technology sector as Apps and many other cloud platforms are used to perform their daily role. Here are some tips and advice to improve your working day from your home office:
- It all starts from what you do first thing in the morning if you wake up 15 minutes before a 9am start you’re already not giving yourself a good start to the day. So, when you wake up your body has been dehydrated from your night’s sleep so drink a glass of water to rehydrate.
- Open your windows, allow natural daylight to access the photosensitive cells in your retina which will generate a hormonal process which signals to the pituitary gland in the brain and turns off your melatonin which is a sleep hormone and activates your circadian which is your daytime hormone, so if you don’t carry out this process you’re already off to a bad start as your brain isn’t capable to function to its full capacity as you’re still technically in sleep mode.
- If you have a garden or balcony, get outside and access fresh air (not sure if cities can offer this!) or go on a morning run, which really helps you destress and switch off from what you’re facing for the day. In many cases, some really successful business owners believe they come up with really credible ideas while running or other forms of exercise in the morning – if you don’t believe me look up “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod who created his concept Life Savers, which are six essential steps for your morning routine:
- Silence – before you start any form of work, try to practice a minute of silence
- Affirmations – read a powerful statement from a book and try to achieve it
- Visualization – create a vision board, spend 1 minute looking at compelling images
- Exercise – a short morning exercise significantly boosts your energy and enables you to think better and concentrate longer.
- Reading – read an inspirational book for 1 minute or watch an educational 60-second video to get some motivate you for the day ahead
- Scribbling – write something which you are grateful for or what you wish to achieve today.
The EMEA Legal Team