During the current coronavirus pandemic, legal professionals of every type, tenure and title are being asked to work from home until further notice. While we have already provided a list of top tips for effective and efficient remote working, we now want to highlight some of the ways that your career can benefit from this situation.
This lockdown should not be seen as a period of stagnation for your professional learning and development, but a unique opportunity to develop your skills or learn some new ones. While by no means exhaustive, here are a few of the best opportunities for upskilling while working from home.
- Learn a language
- Self-motivation and discipline
Without the presence of your boss and colleagues, keeping on track of your tasks and deadlines is entirely down to you when working from home, making this an excellent opportunity to develop your organisation and time-keeping skills. If you are struggling, consider using a tool like Trello to organise your work.
Working closely with colleagues and clients every day should mean that your communication skills are already highly advanced. However, with face-to-face meetings and conversations removed from the equation entirely, legal professionals will have to rely on written communication and on video meeting platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams more than ever. Make sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to enhance these specific communication skills.
For many people, staying focused and attentive during phone and video meetings can be a challenge, but if you can master this art while working from home, you will never again need to worry about becoming preoccupied in a face-to-face meeting. Whenever you have remote meetings, make sure to do so in a quiet space with as few distractions present as possible - really listen to what your colleagues and clients have to say before taking your turn to talk.
For Partners, General Counsel and other team leaders, remote working presents the unique challenge of managing, mentoring and motivating teams from afar. Use this opportunity to entrust your team with more responsibility than ever and find new ways of leading them to success. For more tips, see our recently published article on how to manage a remote team for legal professionals.
Learn a language
Without daily commutes to deal with, the hours you save working remotely will quickly begin to stack up. Use this time to enhance your CV with an additional language that could enhance your future career prospects. While you may not master a language in a matter of months, using a free mobile app like Duolingo or Babbel will get you on the right track.
Working from home can offer many more opportunities to be proactive and take the initiative than are offered in an office setting. You won’t have your team mates sitting next to you all day, so this is a great chance to become more self-reliant and take initiative. Think about pitching new ideas or researching new technologies that might benefit the wider department. Carry this proactivity back to the office with you to catch the attention of your superiors.
Speaking of new technologies - remote working gives you the opportunity to really get your head around them. Whether your firm has solid plans to migrate to a new case management system later this year, or you are just curious about the software and programmes that could make your life easier, upskilling in technology is always effective in career development.
Self-motivation and discipline
Without your manager and colleagues around and the familiar office environment, it can sometimes be difficult to stay productive, making this a great opportunity to work on your self-motivation and discipline. It might be a trial and error process at first, but all will be worth it once you find the conditions, triggers and environment that encourage your peak performance. By the end of this remote working period, you have the potential to be more disciplined in your work than ever before.
Are you currently trying to juggle parenting with working from home? Whether you have toddlers prone to temper tantrums or teenagers struggling to adapt to separation from their friends, sign up to Lemon-Aid today to receive free daily family lockdown tips directly to your email inbox.