By Charley Harvey – August 2021
2020 was undoubtedly one of the strangest years we’ve had in recent history. With work stopping and starting and a complete overhaul of our classic workplace, the work environment has been very different for many people as the home and work spaces have merged.
We have been given snapshots into colleague’s lives through the Zoom background, forgotten to turn off mute and struggled endlessly with sharing screens. As well as navigating technology and learning my way around new systems, getting to know people through a screen has been one of the strangest features of being a new starter.
I started working in the office at Boyle and Summers in September 2020 where I got a brief introduction to office life before moving to work from home in October. Starting in an office with everyone social distancing is theoretically a very impersonal way to start, but the team were kind and welcoming, even optimistically proposing a group meal before restrictions tightened and plans were postposed.
We have all had to find new ways to communicate and convey ideas, working with each other to understand how we learn, adapting to each of our needs. This takes time and is a steep learning curve but everyone in the office has been helpful and empathetic of the difficulties of home working.
Having graduated from university in June 2020, the height of the pandemic, my whole cohort has learnt to adapt and overcome the obstacles which are now a part of every day life, whilst still hanging onto the hope of returning to normal. Working at Boyle and Summers remotely was not the way I expected to begin my career in practice but it has been a brilliant learning experience and I feel far more prepared for the future than I did 12 months ago. Despite the strange circumstances, team members organised additional virtual meetings and a ‘coffee lounge’ as well as a Friday evening ‘pub’ aptly named the Jab Inn, all successful efforts to keep the team feeling like a team. Although the actual pub was missed, we have all had to adapt to a new way of living and working, and Boyle and Summers get the balance of these just right with a very humane approach to work.
Returning to the office was quite a scary concept as it felt like starting a new job all over again, having had little time to get to know everyone on a personal level before lockdown. The team organised an adventure golf day out and meal just beforehand, which made the return to work a much easier one and proved we should perhaps stick to the day jobs…
Considering it’s been such a difficult year for everyone, I have been very lucky to be surrounded by such kind, welcoming people, helping me to learn a lot and build relationships – even whilst from a 2m distance.