At Lewis Silkin we are very lucky to have a solid foundation in our culture with the ethos of ‘be kind, be brave’ this has provided us with a strong platform from which various ways of remaining connected have emerged.
Most ideas have been created by lawyers and staff rather than from a top down approach. This demonstrates the high level of trust and support that we have at both an individual and team basis and our ability to have fun!
In the last few weeks, we have all grown accustomed to making video calls rather than using the phone. This has increased our virtual face-to-face connections and we have adapted to children crawling onto laps mid-sentence or cats inadvertently muting microphones as they slink across the laptop keyboard.
Video conferencing has quickly become the new norm, with new etiquette’s of muting, using chat and having some excellent facilitators fielding questions / comments. We have fine-tuned these skills during virtual pub quizzes, tours of individual homes (complete with requests to open fridges, examine shoe collections or have a closer inspection of art work (some in frames and some by family members!). Our video-conferencing has been made available outside of core hours, to allow us to keep in touch with family and friends. Some have adopted the pub quiz idea and launched similar events across social networks. We have been supporting the Thursday 8pm clapping for the NHS, sharing videos of the local support across in-team social media platforms, as well as memes and jokes that are doing the rounds. A big change has been hosting virtual team drinks towards the end of a particular day, when we raise a glass or cup of tea to each other and connect purely on a social basis, with spouses/partners, children and pets all making an appearance. Ironically our enforced remote working has led to us having a bit more insight into our lives outside of work.
Our joint managing partners send out emails 3 times a week, with a mixture of work updates and observations about how well individuals and teams are reacting to the crisis. This more formal communication complements the more relaxed comms which have criss-crossed the firm.
Recommendations for non-work activities
On our internal #ThisPlaceMinds intranet site we are now awash with ideas on how to keep yourself (and where applicable your family/flatmates) occupied outside of working hours, here are some of the suggestions, which will require a search engine or access to social media platforms:
- The major opera houses in the UK, Europe and the US are now live streaming or providing recordings of performances
- A quick search for life on a farm, brings up well known TV presenters and smaller, local farms who are producing short clips on farming activities, from caring for piglets to watching lambs being born.
- Many are logging onto yoga, pilates, HIIT, boxing or Tai Chi sessions for a live interactive group session or something a little more self-paced.
- Some art galleries and museums are providing interactive tours of the curated works or lectures on particular exhibits.
- Learning a new hobby, has meant many are finding out how to… knit, crochet, take photographs, develop calligraphy skills, garden even if a beginner, create a windowsill garden, write poetry, or develop a new technical skill – how to create videos from a phone, sing or attend webinars on personal development topics
What is clear is that there does need to be fluidity in working hours, but also a clear demarcation of when you are working and when you are stepping away. Much of the on-line advice has been to change the rhythm of a non-working day, to make it look and feel different to a working day. If possible, changing which room you spend time in, being more present with your young children, taking more time to prepare a meal and encouraging the children to help you or outsource it completely! These small changes will, we hope result in some down time!