It’s been quite a ‘strange’ 12 months to say the least with the vast majority of us now working from home. We’ve spoken with countless lawyers at all levels since lockdown, but whether furloughed and returned to work, or if there has been no break, without exception all have experienced time away from the office during the past year.
We asked Family Solicitor, Nasbin Begum about this and she kindly agreed to share her experience with us!
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am a NQ family solicitor based in the London area. I have always lived and worked in London. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2014 and took a gap before going on to undertake my LPC part-time in 2016, whilst working full-time as a paralegal at the same time.
Q. Have you been furloughed over the past 12 months and if so, how was the experience?
No – I have been fortunate enough not to have been furloughed in the last 12 months.
Q. How have you found homeworking?
The initial period of adjustment felt very different. As I had just qualified before we went into the first lockdown and was in an open plan office, I was very much used to having supervision and having senior lawyers around me to ask lots of questions. It was easy to get used to and I’ve learnt that working from home has several advantages too.
Q. What advice would you give to people in relation to homeworking, particularly in relation to time management and coping with children?
I think it’s important to be able to try and keep work and your personal life different. So putting in boundaries telling yourself that you are going to work from 9:30-5:30 and stop there, not check your emails after this point until the following morning, is important. I think coping with children is a much bigger challenge and it may be that you have to work flexibly, so that working hours are divided up – a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening for example, but still having some sort of boundaries.
Q. Have you found it more difficult to strike a good work life balance?
Initially it was difficult to switch off from work, particularly because of lockdown – you have more free time and therefore sometimes it has been difficult to switch off. I think over time now and as we get used to working from home for the foreseeable future, it is becoming easier to strike a good work life balance.
Q. Do you prefer working from home or the office?
I prefer working from home as I have become accustomed to this now. But I would like the option of going into the office to meet with colleagues.
Q. What are you excited about for the future?
I am excited to see how businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’ and whether there is an increase in flexibility as more and more people go back into the workplace and it becomes safer to do so. I am interested to know if more businesses will be readily accepting of employees childcare commitments and therefor be more flexible in that respect.