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Shared & Halved - IHL series: Staying connected

As part of our series of webinars to  support in-house lawyers during the current pandemic, on 1 May we hosted a webinar looking at how to stay connected with the business and your networks

The IHL series of our Covid-19 webinar programme covers bite-size topics designed for a half-hour coffee break and focuses on practical tips for in-house lawyers. This fifth session was our second wellbeing topic and covered the issues around staying connected with both the business and your networks.

Current situation

Different markets are experiencing different things – there have been truly diverse impacts on business, people and markets. The response is therefore diverse – from market withdrawal to a more optimistic approach.

In healthcare, for example, some products (non-Covid-related) are being ceased and business as usual has stopped, which is very difficult to respond to. But businesses have identified opportunities in a different area in the market (Covid-related, such as in response to Nightingale hospitals) and are deploying different products and realigning teams to this at a large scale and at a fast pace.

This significant change is challenging the norm and how we do business and requires empathy.

Different feelings and reactions by individuals can change over time and we must be mindful about this. 

It is a really important time to reflect on how we operate as people and businesses, and how we react to the environment.

Themes in behaviour change

Individuals are questioning the consequences of not performing to their usual high standard/ levels. What are we telling ourselves and how do we self-regulate to make ourselves as healthy as possible?

Poll – What’s your reaction been to receiving a message saying “we need to talk”?

  • mild panic – most common in the poll.
  • curiosity – second most common in the poll.
  • gut wrenching fear - joint lowest in the poll.
  • all-consuming thoughts, unable to focus on anything else - joint lowest in the poll.

Three key areas linked to this:

  • ambiguity – the unknown.
  • when our values are under threat, for example, we’re used to being involved and then stop being consulted on things.
  • general fear – lack/loss of communication – we start to think: “what am I missing out on?” We are trying to regain some control of the situation.

What do we do about this?

  • personal reflection – mental check-in. Ask “what is it that is making me feel like this”. ‘What’ is more logical than ‘why’.
  • 6 top tips on helping to get back to state of resourcefulness:

- acknowledgement;

- recognition; 

- saying “stop”; 

- challenge self; 

- positive affirmation and reminding self of when things have gone well;

- breaking the cycle

- the second live poll showed that the top tips which resonated the most were acknowledgement, saying “stop” and positive affirmation 

Missing out on information/ collaboration

‘Corridor conversations’ and a consensus approach is not possible with the new working arrangements so we are missing out on those valuable interactions.

The value of them is high as they link to innovation, accelerated decision making and greater learning.

Third poll: Do you feel that since lockdown you are missing out on important informal conversations? The result showed that a lot of people are feeling they are. 

Fourth poll: If you are having these informal conversations, despite lockdown, how are you doing this? The majority answered by video call, but still many are feeling they’re not having the conversations they need to.

Advice and tactics on how to stay connected whilst working remotely and how you could add value:

  • internal situation audit - understanding who is experiencing what can reduce lack of empathy and poor outcomes.
  • identify the informal networks that already existed in the business - employee survey; check on workflow analysis; conversations with key people.
  • be the point person to restart these networks and breathe new life into them in a new format – hackathons around a problem; drop in sessions on digital platform (public or private); or problem-solving task groups with the wider stakeholder group included to remove the silos and include more people.
  • make it a safe environment and support with authenticity and understanding.
  • in times like these, talking always helps and often the more informal that can be, the more insight and opportunity to develop, you will gain. 
  • consider internal networks and be the instigator of innovative solutions.

This webinar was co-hosted by Darren Smith, Learning & Development Manager at Shoosmiths and Emma Sheldon MBE, Business Leadership & Growth Consultant.

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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