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Finding a balance and staying connected

We asked our HR leaders, lawyers and associates across the Asia Pacific region to share details on how they are ensuring that White & Case employees are thriving as well as working effectively during this unprecedented time.  

Chloe Szeto, senior HR manager for Hong Kong, says that it's all about staying engaged and connected. "Our managers are checking in with team members and colleagues throughout the day, and of course technology nowadays makes it a lot easier." 

In Melbourne, senior HR advisor Nicole Popplewell adds that Firmwide pulse surveys allow employees to share their experiences and express any concerns and challenges they are facing. "We are providing resources that help us all navigate this time and remain resilient. Some examples include: virtual meditations; webinars on building psychological immunity; an app subscription that provides mindfulness exercises; and guided mediations."

Chloe says that there's a silver lining to this situation: "We're all learning how to do things differently, and that creates new opportunities for us to grow. It is great to see how quickly everyone has adapted and pulled together."

“We’re all learning how to do things differently, and that creates new opportunities for us to grow”

For lawyers, the move to working remotely has been eased by the fact that communicating internally across global offices, as well as with clients using virtual tools and technology was already an established practice. Melbourne associate Kirsty Ha explains that, "With our interstate and overseas clients, we generally use audio conferencing tools anyway, so in that respect the transition is quite seamless." 

Jessie Huynh is currently on secondment at a client and says that video calls are a great way to interact; "It is a much more interactive way to communicate with the team and is also a nice way of seeing people's faces throughout the day." 

Hong Kong associate Peiwen Chen adds: "Conventional coffees and lunches are now replaced with virtual meet-and-greets, such as WhatsApp video calls, Zoom meetings or FaceTime calls. Clients, like us, are isolated at home, so they do really appreciate personal interactions. I feel that I am getting to know our clients on a more personal level." 

She adds that there have been some creative ways to keep up team spirit: "The Firm has come up with creative ideas, like weekly photography competitions of home subject matters, virtual Friday socials and various virtual fitness activities to keep the body moving."

“It is great to see how quickly everyone has adapted and pulled together”

Of course, there are still elements of personal interaction that are hard to replace, as Kirsty explains: "Our team works quite closely together and I'm accustomed to wandering into other people's offices to pick their brains on what I'm working on. From home, picking up the phone and calling someone is a more intentional exercise, but it is just as easy and also becomes a good chance to see how team members are doing." 

She believes that it's important to break up the day in a structured way: "I've found it very helpful to maintain a bit of routine in my days. I usually read the paper online before I start work in the office, and carrying that over into working from home is a good way to settle in for the workday. I also like to do something outside when I finish—sometimes this means going for a run, other times it's picking up a laksa from around the corner. It's a good circuit breaker and signals that work is done for the day." 

Hong Kong partner Melody Chan agrees with the importance of maintaining a schedule. She says that taking time away from the computer is a must as the line between work and personal time can easily become blurred.

Trainee solicitor Genevieve Tsang believes "it's important to stay away from distractions (e.g., television, kitchen) and schedule times for regular breaks throughout the day."
 
Finally, Melody says that it's been heartening to see how it has brought out the best in our people. "It has brought people closer in a way. It has also spiked the level of creativity amongst us."

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