PDT Solicitors in Lockdown – How PDT’s culture is keeping us connected and positive throughout the crisis
Covid-19 is a health story. It’s a business story. It’s an economic story. But at the heart of it all, the Covid-19 crisis is a human story. I wanted to share with you how Covid-19 has impacted us as a firm and how our staff are embodying PDT’s culture to stay positive and connected with each other.
For us at PDT, the Covid-19 pandemic has created challenges. Challenges in the way in which we now all work remotely, challenges with maintaining our usual flow of business and challenges to ensure we are keeping our staff and their families safe. This pandemic has not gone without sacrifice and we, as have many businesses from many industries, have had to furlough some employees and ask others to accept temporary reduction in pay whilst the pandemic continues. The commitment, support and enthusiasm that the staff have expressed to the firm has, at times, made me quite emotional, but it is this level of support and commitment that has powered us on to make sure that we get through this awful time.
As Managing Partner, being on lockdown brings additional challenges to the working day. I have always made a point of and prided myself on the fact that I spend a lot of time speaking with everyone within the firm, normally on a daily basis, just so that I can “check in” with them and ensure that everything is good. In the office, this works easily, with a simple 15-minute tour of the different departments at any one time. Doing this on a remote basis is that much more of a challenge, not least because I am needing to be in contact with a number of people who have accepted furlough leave.
On entering the third week of lockdown we have overcome any remote working teething issues and we are hearing from our staff they are now feeling more settled and positive in their work. The move to remote working was helped by already having a system for homeworking (granted needing to be expanded for all staff), and we are pleased to find that after the initial shock period our clients are still very much requiring our assistance and current matters are moving forward in all areas of our practice.
In an attempt to ensure that everybody remains in contact with the firm, I have set up a separate furlough group that remains in contact outside of work and joins in on firm updates so that people remain included and not isolated from the day to day running of matters.
For those working remotely, we have set up daily team/sector catch ups, but, more importantly, I organise a daily firmwide catch up at 12:30 each day which allows me to do that virtual walk of the floors. I try to keep the meeting relaxed and get different people each day engaged with updating everyone as to what they have been up to, what new work has come in, what work they are trying to complete for this month and generally being together as a firm.
One of the things we know from working at home is that it can be very isolating and, for the want of a better word, lonely. I acknowledge this with everyone and encourage all of us to ensure that we look after each other in what are truly trying times.
On top of this, I am obviously still doing a full day’s work of “client work”. My day tends to start at about 7:30am and end at 7:30pm with only a short moment at lunchtime to grab beans on toast!
I think the experience of the firm before the Covid-19 lockdown and the genuinely, fantastic culture which we have created within the firm, has helped us deal with what is a uniquely, challenging experience. The level of commitment and support from all staff across the firm has been astonishing and really illustrates why the firm is a great place to be. It shows that when two sevens clash it is culture that matters the most!
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