I'm just over a month into my traineeship, and everything is going well. My team has made me feel welcome and I'm already getting involved in lots of interesting work. However, there is one big difference between my experience and the experience of every other trainee before me; I have started my traineeship without moving from my bedroom.
COVID-19 has shaken up 'the norm' for almost every business in the UK, and this is no different for Brodies. Working from home, to at least some degree, looks set to become a permanent feature for many professionals who previously worked in an office five days a week so starting out in a home environment will likely stand me in good stead for working life later down the line.
Being only a month in, I am no expert on how a traineeship from home should be done. However, I do have some insights from my first month that might be of interest or help to others starting a traineeship in similar circumstances.
There will be a lot of new equipment
When the working from home equipment arrived by courier, it would be no exaggeration to say that it was like Christmas came early. A phone! A laptop! A Brodies LLP mug! Brodies kitted out new trainees with all the required home office equipment, and getting it set up ahead of my first week was particularly exciting for me.
Colleagues are understanding of the position you are in
Before I started, I worried that as a new trainee I would be forgotten about while working from home. This has not been my experience at all. I have already been involved in numerous client calls, drafting work and research tasks. There are also regular calls to keep in touch with colleagues.
Us new trainees get the benefit of working with colleagues who have been adapting to remote working for months. The best piece of advice I have received is to treat video calling like spinning around in an imaginary office chair; if you normally would have turned around to ask someone a question in the office, just arrange a quick video call! In my experience, everyone has been more than happy to help.
A new face popping up on screen is how you will meet people
With the exception of one colleague I met for a socially distanced coffee, I have not met my team in person since starting my traineeship. Instead, I have got to know them through video calls, and it's surprising how quickly I've become used to this way of communicating. Video calls are the "new normal" way of meeting people. During my first week, new faces from across Brodies popped up on my laptop screen for a chat - a digital substitute for popping over to my desk in the office, to check in on how I was doing.
There are still opportunities to 'meet' and socialise with fellow trainees
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to meet my fellow trainees as a group in real life. However, there have been opportunities to have fun, socialise and chat to each other – we've had virtual coffees, a speed-networking style video call to meet second-year trainees, and we've all taken part in a dynamic music quiz organised by a Brodies partner!
Overall, I've found working remotely has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, there's no commuting time or money being frittered away on meal deals. On the downside, I haven't been able to meet my colleagues in person yet or experience the usual office environment. Regardless of the unusual circumstances, I'm really enjoying myself and it's certainly a memorable way to start a traineeship!