Working from home as an apprentice

Charlie provides an insight into working from home as an apprentice

09 July 2021

By apprentice Charlie Morgan

Who would have thought that come March we would have all spent a year working from home. Now that nearly a year has passed, I can reflect on how it hasn’t actually all been too bad, and how well Burges Salmon and our training provider, BPP, have reacted to the ‘new normal’ we are all currently experiencing.

Benefits

It goes without saying that this new way of working carries many downsides; however enjoyable a virtual quiz or virtual coffee is, it will never beat popping down to Glassworks (our canteen) for lunch, meeting up on a Monday night for a kick about with the BS football team or heading over to King Street for a pint on a Friday. However, everyone has noticed many benefits whilst WFH. For me, during the first lockdown, I was able to spend a lot more time with my family. Having moved out when I first started the apprenticeship, this was the first time in a few years I was able to spend more than a week or so back at home with my family. Other colleagues have commented how they have been to spend a lot more time with their children, and are enjoying the flexibility that working from home provides. The commute to the desk in the kitchen is much shorter than the commute to the office, which adds extra time to your day. This time can be spent going for a run or a walk before work (or just having that little bit of extra time in bed).

Work

Within work, Burges Salmon have adapted to ensure all employees, not just apprentices, are working efficiently and enjoying their time as much as possible whilst working from home. We were sent all equipment we would require to work from home, including extra screens and comfy desk chairs. I have sat within two different departments since working from home, and both departments have ensured there is frequent contact with supervisors and the wider team, as well as making sure the quality and standard of work we are carrying out has not been affected. Joining a new team virtually was odd, but every department has adapted their induction process well, and have made all new apprentices and trainees feel very welcome, despite not having actually met them in person.

Each department has recognised the extra troubles working from home can bring, whether that be dodgy WI-FI or childcare duties. The firm have made sure all employees are coping at home, providing us with many opportunities to flag where we may be struggling, both within work and general mental health. There have also been plenty of socials to get involved in, whether that be as a department, firmwide or with the other apprentices. These have included murder mysteries, themed quizzes, bingo and more creative virtual ideas!

Study

Fortunately for apprentices, given that all of our lectures are online, we have not experienced too much change to our studies. However, since the start of lockdown, most apprentices have had to sit 3 different exams, as well as meet two coursework deadlines. BPP quickly adapted to move the exams to an online format. This was a very quick and swift transition, allowing us all to sit our exams with minimal disruption. BPP have listened to all of our concerns and ideas about sitting exams from home, and have constantly taken on board our ideas to make improvements to the exam process. Personally, I prefer sitting exams in the comfort of my own home, rather than having to travel to an exam centre and taking the exam amongst 20 other students!

Away from exams, BPP have been in regular contact, to make sure all apprentices are coping with the current circumstances, both with their studies and in work. Like Burges Salmon, there have been plenty of opportunities to discuss any problems we may have, and have been very open with discussing wellbeing whilst working from home. BPP have hosted a couple of wellbeing & resilience workshops over the past year, discussing how to look after your mental health whilst working from home, and how to tackle anxious thoughts. A number of apprentices have found these really useful, and agree that it shows how much support we are receiving from our training provider.

Key contact

Bessie Phelps 250 x 250

Bessie Phelps Resourcing Business Partner

Burges Salmon careers

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