Following the confirmation of the novel corona virus (COVID-19) virus in Lagos State on the 31st January 2020 and its subsequent spread to other parts of the country, the Federal Government in its official gazette dated the 30th of March 2020 issued a cessation/restriction of movement in certain parts of the country. To this end, many organizations began working remotely so as to protect their staff from contracting this deadly virus.
Fortunately, as the global issues of COVID-19 became more apparent, coupled with new cases being discovered in Lagos and Oyo State, my firm, Funmi Roberts and Co (FRC) had a week prior to the FGs declaration embarked on a Business Disruption Protocol and instructed all staff to work remotely. The management of the firm conducted an all-inclusive meeting of all staff (lawyers and admin) and informed us that we were to work remotely i.e. from home beginning 24th March 2020. Everyone was given an opportunity to state any issues with the new dispensation and after an extensive meeting, the FRC Business Disruption Protocol was implemented and of full effect.
As a Corper just gaining work experience for the first time, the idea of working from home was totally uncharted territory for me.
Three weeks later, I have come to embrace the concept and accept it as probably the new norm of working (at least for now). My experience has been quite interesting at the least. For me, WFH has highlighted a few points I will go ahead to share. Before proceeding to share my experience, I must quickly point out that one of the most difficult task undertaken when preparing for the WFH policy was picking a convenient office space in the house. I understood from the start that my room was not the appropriate spot for me if I truly wanted to make the best use of this period, thus I decide to settle for one of the empty stores in my house that was best suited as my office space.
In line with the above, the below are some of the highlights of my WFH:
One of the significant advantages of WFH is the increase in the level of growth I have experience during this period. The level of growth and confidence I have now is credited to the decrease in the level of reliance I place on my senior colleagues at work when a task in assigned. This however is not an indication that their experiences on the job is irrelevant. It only serves as a pointer that I can work independently with little or no guidance.
- INCREASE IN THE LEVEL OF DISTRACTION
While one of the main reasons of working from home is to maintain output and productivity during this period,the shift/decrease in the level of productivity is credited to the level of distractions faced when I’m working at home. One of the forms of distraction I face at home includes “the running of errands for my parents’’. I also now have to assist them with chores in the kitchen, a task I easily avoided when working at the office.
- SAVE MONEY
Since I began working from home, I realized that I have been able to save funds as I have cut down expenditures accruing to feeding and transportation. At home, I easily prepare my food and spend less buying outside.
- QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY MEMBERS
Working in a top commercial law firm requires full concentration in order to deliver organizational goals. It is also not false that a large chunk of time is usually spent at the office during weekdays; hence I get to spend lesser time with my family. One of the major benefits of WFH is that I now get to spend more time with my family members and this has positively strengthened the bond we share.
- PERSONAL DATA USAGE
Since the inception of the remote working policy there has been a surge in my internet data usage. To this end, I have had to increase the amount I spend on broadband internet to conduct various tasks or research so as to meet up with the prompt submission of deliverables. I have to sacrifice a lot to subscribe for broadband internet connection so as to be able to meet up with my deadlines.
- ERRATIC POWER SUPPLY
While Nigeria generates less than four (4) thousand megawatts of electricity daily, the issue of constant power failure continues to pose a major threat to working remotely. My work is such that I have set timelines and deadlines to meet, however, poor electric power supply constitutes a major constraint in meeting up with this set deadlines.I have also had countless time where power supply has prevented me from joining meetings via our Go-to/ Zoom meeting online platforms.
- LACK OF RELATIONSHIPS AMONG COWORKERS
One of the major benefits of working together in an office is the atmosphere of togetherness it often creates among coworkers. Since the inception of the remote working policy, I have had little or no time to interact with my colleagues due to my preference of physical interaction over interactions via other means. Notably,one of the things I miss from working with my senior colleagues at the office is pep talk on how I can be a better version of myself, their words of encouragement constantly push me to always desire to do more and importantly avoid making mistakes they made on the job.
Even as we continue to adapt to this new model of remote working, I have personally decided to leverage on the use of internet by positively acquiring skills as a 21st century attorney by attending various webinar session on different areas of law I intend to specialize in the nearest future. Furthermore, I have also discipline myself from engaging in any activity that will not add positive value to my person.
Oluwatimilehin Edun is a Corper at the Lagos office of Funmi Roberts and Co.
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