For companies throughout the world, a lot has changed since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year. Workplaces have had to adapt, daily working practices and routines have been overhauled, and businesses have been tested like never before.
It’s been no different for Insyt, where our team are now entirely home-based. Everyone has adjusted admirably to a ‘new normal’, but for no-one is this more true than Head of Legal Chris Wilson.
Having joined the Insyt team in February 2020, he didn’t have long to get settled in his role before lockdown took centre stage. But, Chris says, he’s been impressed by the way everyone within the business is adjusting and thriving amid unfamiliar ways of working – especially around the particular complexities of the legal department.
“My role involves a lot of drafting and negotiating contracts with clients and suppliers, sometimes with very tight turnaround times, and working with the data protection, procurement and senior management teams on a range of issues,” he explains.
“Good communication is vital to all of that so, in a way, legal had some of the biggest adjustments to make – whether that was ensuring sensitive information is transferred securely when working remotely or simple things like no longer being able to just walk across to speak to someone about issues as they arise.”
So, in practical terms, what is different at Insyt now to the way it was six months ago?
“We have a far greater reliance on technology, for sure – particularly Microsoft Teams for video calls and instant messages,” Chris says. “There are legal and regulatory aspects to every part of the company’s function, so I work closely with nearly every member of the team.
“It’s interesting though because all this has actually brought the team closer together. Some aspects of the job are more efficient now and we’re supporting each other to get through everything that’s going on.
“We’re using video conferencing to have virtual coffee breaks and we still manage our Friday afternoon quiz sessions too. It actually has as many advantages as drawbacks, I think.”
One perk of Chris’s new-look role is a particularly special change of circumstances at home.
“My wife and I had a baby girl during lockdown,” he reveals. “With my commute now having been greatly reduced from 25 miles to 25 steps I’ve been able to spend more time with them and my one-year-old son, which has been amazing.
Any drawbacks? “Yes, one main one – my new desk (our dining room table) is far too near to the biscuit tin.”
Well, you can’t win them all.