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Tom Black Eversheds Sutherland

Tom Black

Principal Associate, Eversheds Sutherland

As remote working becomes the ‘new normal’ for many lawyers, the need to take conscious action to preserve our personal wellbeing becomes increasingly important.

Working from home can be stressful in itself especially for those who are not accustomed, but many will have other pressures (mine being childcare) which compound what is already a difficult situation for society as a whole.

Having worked from home at least once a week for the past two years I wanted to share some ideas which you might find helpful as we all adapt ‘social distancing’.

  1. Get set up

Working from a laptop for prolonged periods of time can be uncomfortable and frustrating.  In addition, inappropriate seating arrangements (e.g. at the kitchen table) will soon cause discomfort and perhaps even long term injury.

Invest in a decent sized monitor, a mouse/keyboard, a desk and an office chair so that you can work in a manner which replicates the office environment as closely as possible.  Being able to work comfortably and efficiently will hugely reduce your stress levels and can safeguard your long term physical wellbeing.

  1. Make use of technology

Technology can relieve your stress levels in many ways if you make the most of it:

  • PDF software such as Nitro Pro allow you to efficiently prepare electronic bundles of documents without the need for any hard copies;
  • Electronic signatures can be set up for signing documents even for court proceedings;
  • iPhones can be used to scan documents;
  • Video conferencing and chat facilities enable you to stay in touch with friends and colleagues which can help reduce any feelings of isolation. Try holding ‘virtual tea breaks’ or even (as I trialled last Friday evening) a ‘virtual pub’!
  1. Maintain a routine

Some people find that dressing for the office even when working from home helps get them into a professional mindset.  If it helps why not?  In any event, establishing and sticking to a routine can help to maintain your wellbeing levels.  I find that having a separate office in my house and making sure I am working between key hours (taking breaks at set times) helps me get through the day and to maintain discipline.

  1. Make time for distractions

A risk with working from home can be the temptation to overwork, either due to feelings of guilt or simply due to the blurring of the lines between work and social life.  It is important to make room for other pursuits – this week mine will be practising the guitar and working out in the newly formed garage gym!

Try and embrace the natural distractions that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy from the office.

Despite my daughter’s regular interruptions as I write, I remind myself of how lovely it is to be spending more time with her than usual.  Let’s see if I can keep that attitude up for three months!

Tom Black Eversheds Sutherland

Tom Black

Principal Associate, Eversheds Sutherland

Tom is a Principle Associate at Eversheds Sutherland, specialising in Financial Disputes Resolution and regulatory advice.  He is also the Junior Vice President of the Cardiff and District Law Society.