Kate Clarkson gives some sound advice for lawyers starting a new job whilst still working from home.

 

Since March we have all experienced a big shift in our day to day lives. For many, the working world as we know it changed overnight with working from home a likely feature of the “new normal”.

Despite offices in the City slowly starting to reopen, capacity will still be kept to a minimum meaning that the home office is here to stay. At Hydrogen, we have continued to place lawyers into employment during lockdown and have seen candidates begin these new roles remotely.

As law firms have quickly adapted to onboarding staff from their own homes, here are our top tips on how new joiners can make the most of starting their new job away from the office as we know it:

Get set up

Creating a comfortable working environment free from distractions and with access to everything you need is essential for homeworking success. With lots of law firms now offering an assistance payment to help you achieve this, you may find this is easier than you originally thought. Whether it’s a new desk so you can stop working from your kitchen table or that extra piece of IT kit, it’s well worth asking the question and making the most of it. Noise cancelling headphones can also be useful if your new co-worker happens to be your partner, housemate, child or dog! Just remember to keep an eye on call notifications so you don’t miss that important call.

Be seen 

Congrats, you’ve secured employment during a pandemic, now let your new employer and colleagues know you are there! Starting a new role remotely is no different to starting a role in the office, so remember that first impressions count. Introduce yourself early on – book individual video calls with your team and find reasons to talk to people (even if it is just to catch up on the latest Netflix binge). You can also be thankful that you’ve been spared that embarrassing tour around the office as the “newbie”!

Buddy up

The majority of firms have a buddy/mentoring scheme for new joiners – an ideal contact to utilise especially for tricky questions that would more than likely be apparent if you were in the office. Mentoring schemes are often a great way to connect with new people you wouldn’t ordinarily work with on a day-to-day basis, so make the most of the opportunity to build new relationships.

Be pro-active

Once you’ve gone through inductions and learnt how to use the system, it’s time to get your head down. Reach out to peers and bosses if you have capacity and don’t be nervous to ask for work. The easiest way to get known in a law firm is to do good quality work for as many people as possible, which is also an ideal way for you to get to know colleagues across the firm.

Get involved 

Friday night drinks as we know it may have temporarily been paused but make sure you get involved in social activities away from the inbox – whether that’s the weekly online quiz, choir or virtual escape room! 

Although the “new normal” can feel daunting in the context of work, the realities of starting a new job haven’t changed and it’s up to you to make the most of the situation and get savvy on navigating a new job virtually rather than along the corridors.

Although we have seen inevitable slowdown in certain areas of the legal recruitment market, law firms are onboarding new starters every week, highlighting that there will always be opportunities for the top talent. 

If you would like a confidential discussion, please feel free to contact me on kateclarkson@hydrogengroup.com.    

 

 

About the author

 

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Kate Clarkson

Manager, Hydrogen Group

I manage the London Private Practice stand-alone team. We specialise in areas including dispute resolution, construction, commercial IP/IT, tax, employment, pensions, competition, insurance and private client. I also have previous experience placing transactional lawyers into top UK, Magic Circle and US firms in London.