Business as usual in the family team during Covid-19
29 April 2020 by Aimee Edwards
Despite these unprecedented circumstances, it is still business as usual in the family team here at FJG.
As the situation around the Coronavirus pandemic progressed, our fantastic IT department at FJG proactively started to prepare for lockdown in advance, so that we would be able to support our clients, whether existing or new, as circumstances developed.
Working from home
By the middle of March, some members of the family team had already begun to work from home and by 6:30pm on 23rd March 2020, the whole family team, fee earners, and support staff were able to operate from their homes.
We all have access to the firm’s telephone system. Fee earners are able to dictate digitally, and their work can be typed by support staff working in their own homes, and then approved by the fee earners and sent out. We have access to all the information and documents we need through our electronic case files and online resources.
Where technical issues arise our IT department are on hand remotely all the time to ensure they are resolved quickly.
One month on from the first day of lockdown and I think I can speak for the whole family team when I say working from home has become our ‘new normal’. Through the use of video conferencing we keep in touch with each other and are still working collaboratively and efficiently as a team.
Keeping in contact
Clients, new and existing, can contact us as usual by telephone, email, or through our website. We can take the information we need by telephone, video link or electronically, by clients completing documents and emailing them to us.
New clients are taking advantage of our £99 fixed fee initial interview where they can obtain advice, find out where they stand, and decide how to move forward.
These can be undertaken using telephone or video links using;
- Microsoft Teams
- WhatsApp Video Calls
This ensures interactions with our family team feel as personal as possible, whilst ensuring that we follow the Government guidelines.
While many courts are closed to the public, court hearings are still taking place, usually conducted using telephone calls, where the judge will contact everyone by telephone and then lock the telephone call, and conduct the hearing. However, adopting a proactive approach does allow some court orders to be agreed in advance, which can avoid the need for a hearing at all.
Whilst, to comply with Government guidelines, none of our offices are open to the public, the post is being dealt with daily by our support staff. All post is scanned into our online system ready for our team to deal with it as soon as possible. We have letterboxes at our offices where documents can be delivered by hand, except our Chelmsford office where we ask clients to contact us in advance so that arrangements can be made to deliver items personally to our support team.
We are all adapting to the new work from home lifestyle and expect that some of the skills we learn and processes we develop will shape how we deliver services to our clients in the future.