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From dreaded commutes to ironing shirts: Lawyers reveal what they don’t miss about office life

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Lockdown’s ‘silver linings’

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, and while there are some aspects lawyers miss about office life; seeing their colleagues in the flesh as opposed to on a grainy Zoom call, for instance, there are others they’re quite happy to do away with.

Barrister and DAC Beachcroft partner Sahar Farooqi took to LinkedIn this week to focus on lockdown’s ‘silver linings’. Regular commuters will be able to relate to some of the things Farooqi mentions in his list of six, which includes:

“I don’t miss standing on a packed train pretending not to watch the guy sat down in front of me swiping through his dating app/reading The Metro newspaper over his shoulder”, and, “I don’t miss the time spent in queues. For a Tube turnstile. For an Oyster scanner. For coffee. For security checks at court. For a lift. For lunch. For anything.”

Not having to queue seemed to be a constant theme among Farooqi’s following when he asked them to share what they don’t miss about office life. Rebecca Marshall, a trainee solicitor at Michael W Halsall Solicitors, responded saying she doesn’t miss “queuing for the microwave at work!”

The dreaded daily commute also cropped up a few times. On public transport, Richard Woods, a solicitor at Bolt Burdon, said he doesn’t miss “the constant sniffling and the temperature swings (between the arctic and tropical (or the depths of hell when using the Central line)”. Katie Walmsley, a barrister at DWF, added, “in winter, donning a coat ready for the elements on the way to work becomes an incubator when you go underground”.

“I don’t miss the cancelled trains, paying through the nose for the luxury of boarding on one if you have managed to elbow your way through, the breath of strangers on me, the annoying people who don’t move down the carriage, the rat race that commences the minute the doors open. The ‘now I’m too hot, now I’m too cold’ dance of the scarf removal,” wrote Jessica Burgio, a paralegal at NLA Media Access.

Others said they don’t miss playing “parking roulette” nor “spending money on petrol and starting the day sat in traffic”.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

With schools shut for the majority of students, and remote learning continuing in homes, some lawyers said they don’t miss the stressful early-morning school run. “I don’t miss having to wake my kids up early to take them to nursery because daddy has to leave early to get to court on time,” wrote Rajiv Sharma, a public law barrister at The 36 Group.

Lots of lawyers didn’t seem to miss having to dress for work each day. “I don’t miss trying to remain professionally presentable in a suit, and some days heels, whilst running on and off trams and the rainy streets of Manchester,” said Monique Mahyavanshi-Foley, a real estate paralegal at Gateley, while Liam Hendry, a legal assistant at Prettys, said he doesn’t miss “making sure I have five shirts ironed for the week!”

Other aspects lawyers said they didn’t miss included that “Monday morning feeling”, “de-icing the car”, and getting home late and “having to figure out what’s for dinner”.

The government plunged the country into a third national lockdown last week following a rapid rise in coronavirus cases. As ministers ponder whether to tighten COVID restrictions further, it seems lawyers will be able to take advantage of lockdown’s ‘silver linings’ for some time longer.

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