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Positive steps with Kelly Sawyer of Freeths Oxford

1. Excitement of starting a new job – I finished with my previous employer in March and then subsequently joined Freeths at the end of April. Although starting a new job in the middle of a pandemic is probably the most unusual thing to do, my introduction into the Freeths family has been anything but unusual. The online inductions have been so helpful and my team and colleagues in the Oxford office have made me feel so welcome.

2. Meeting my new colleagues- Since joining Freeths, I have been able to meet my new colleagues using various new platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams which has been such a lovely experience. This has given me the opportunity to get to know my new colleagues whilst they are in their own surroundings and has probably resulted in me getting to know them better and learn about them a bit more as people rather than just fellow employees who I meet as part of brief introductions on the first day to the office. I have also had the pleasure of participating in the fabulous office quizzes hat have been put on by our social team which has only helped me to get to know everyone. For me, it has been like Christmas morning but spread out over a longer period of time since I have had the pleasure and joy of meeting so many different people whilst being at home.

Also, the best bit about this is that, since we are now allowing people back into the office on a scaled down basis, I will now get to the opportunity to meet many of those people face to face and can actually say hello in person (socially distanced of course). Having already met many of my new colleagues virtually, meeting them in person is going to be a lot more enjoyable.

3. Connecting with clients- Having the ability to connect virtually has also helped with the relationships that I have with some of our clients. I feel that, being able to see clients and/or agents in their comfort zone helps to develop the relationship that we have with them. The ‘home environment’ makes the meeting experience less clinical and more personal. Everyone has two personalities, a personal and business so the more human personal profile is almost influencing the business profile and making everyone more human/real. As a solicitor we are also seen by our customers as people rather than just solicitors which gives their client experience a human touch. By doing this, we are also able to have substantive conversations with our clients about what their plans are as we move through the pandemic and also as we hopefully reach a more normal lifestyle.

4. Personal Development and Networking – I’m a lawyer with 2 years’ experience so I am still fairly junior in my field. During this period of time at home, it has given me a great opportunity to develop myself personally in a way that I think is better than I possibly could have done before since it allows me to attend various webinars, read articles on matters that may affect my field of work as well as speak with other junior lawyers who are also doing the same. Having the opportunity to personally develop yourself is essential, especially in the current climate where things are ever changing at rapid pace. This period has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I need to do to become a better lawyer for our clients as well as the opportunity to keep up to date with ongoing changes during this current situation.

One resource that has particularly helped with this has been the Freeths Coronavirus Hub. This is an area designated to all updates that have been given throughout the pandemic and has certainly been my go-to when I have wanted to have further commentary on a particular change that has occurred.

5. Work/ Home life balance- During this time my work/life balance has been at its best. I have been able to carry out my work but still make time to keep myself active at home. To be honest, I have never done so much exercise as I have done during this time. I used to play a lot of badminton but obviously that’s been somewhat curtailed so I have set my sights on doing a bit more running, badly attempting a bit of yoga and home work out or too, but the main bit of exercise has involved walking my dog (Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi – Efa) with my husband. This time away from the desk has given me the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors so much more and also refresh my brain. I’d never have thought that I would be walking Efa during my lunch hour and still get my work done- it has been amazing!