Woodfi nes Solicitors

Learning the ropes in the midst of a pandemic

Having been awarded a training contract, I was overjoyed and a little apprehensive about beginning at Woodfi nes, like all people starting a new job. T e global pandemic was not abating and, unsurprising- ly, my start date was postponed; I was delighted when I received a new start date ahead of my expectations. I learned that Woodfi nes, as other businesses, had adapted and developed their working rou- tines and methodologies to accommodate a blend of offi ce-based and remote working. Despite not knowing Woodfines’ pre-pandemic work habits,

and therefore unable to make any comparisons, I found myself worrying about things that may not have occurred to me in ‘normal’ circumstances. For example, how would I get to know people and how would they get to know me? How would I be able to become part of the Woodfi nes family? What technical equipment did I need, what stationery, what happens if…? Now that I am at the end of my fi rst seat of my training contract, I

can share my realities. Initially, the technical issues were challenging, but the IT support team were very helpful and, once I had set up my home offi ce and the necessary software had been remotely installed, I was soon good to go. T e induction sessions were excellent, and I felt that everyone I

met was super-supportive and encouraging, which made settling in so much easier than anticipated. It was great to meet my team and have a tour around the offi ce, which was bizarrely empty! I was also sensitive to the fact that everyone has had to adapt to these new working conditions and not just the new trainees. I was concerned that remote working would make it more diffi cult to learn company culture, but am now confi dent that, with time, I am learning more about it. I quickly learned to always ask for help when needed and that no

question is too trivial, whether in the offi ce or working from home. However, I also learned that I can be more daunted making a phone call for help from home than I should be. When telephoning a colleague, without eye-contact or being in the same environment, there are no hints or clues about convenience, their availability, whether they are particularly busy, have time for my call etc. T e reality is that I feel very privileged to be working with such a lovely team and sincerely appreciate the tolerance, guidance, and time, given to me, as a trainee. Personally, I think that I am more productive working from home; however, since time fl ies, I am also having to learn to set work/home


boundaries and leave my desk at a sensible time and remember to take lunch. Plus, it is nice not to have to dress formally when working at home and the money and time saved from not having to commute is a huge bonus. As a trainee, trying to make a good impression and demonstrate eagerness to learn and achieve, can sometimes feel diffi cult to do from home, however, overall a mix of offi ce-based and home working seems to work great for me. I would fully recommend a training contract at

Woodfi nes to all potential trainees. T e knowledge, expertise and friendliness of the staff are second to none.

Emily Harvard Trainee Solicitor Woodfi nes Solicitors

My top tips for new trainees are: - Take notes about everything, you never know when you may need to refer back to them. - Read messages for what they say, do not try to analyse them for undertone or nuance, they are what they are, and people have diff erent ways of expressing themselves. - Off er to help with everything, even if it appears daunting, you can gain invaluable experience by getting involved, which also helps your learning. - Set up a constructive space for working from home, a space that you can walk away from when the working day has fi nished. - Remember you may need to be fl exible and adaptable as we all learn more about alternative working methods. - Be mindful about the day-to-day diff erences while working from home, the doorbell may ring, the dog may bark, it is okay to respond to those things, even though they would not happen at work. - Make the most of your supervisor meetings – raise any issues you have and plan how best to continue your development as a trainee to make sure you are gaining the most from your seat. - Take time to get to know your colleagues, it is great to get to know new people and learn about their interests, this also makes working as a team much easier and more relaxing. - Remember never to be worried to ask for help, you are all on the same team and all want a successful outcome.

For further information, contact Woodfi nes on 0344 967 2505

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