14 February 2022

This article was written by trainee Abi Kromer.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we all work, probably for good. Most of us have enjoyed the many benefits that working from home brought with it, varying from longer lie-ins and the ten second commute to our desks, to an increase in time to spend with friends and family. However, I know that I, for one, was starting to feel the social constraints of working from home and welcomed the move back to the office in September this year. 

Notwithstanding the temporary advice to step backwards and work from home again, it seems like the hybrid working model will be the way forward. Since September, we have all valued the flexibility that hybrid working allows, whether this means flexible hours, working from home, working in the office, or in clients’ offices. However, on the flip side, it is very clear that we, as trainees, obtain a huge benefit from learning through osmosis in the office and building relationships with teams (especially the larger teams) in person. So, going forward, how can we get the most out of our training contracts in a hybrid working environment?

1. Communicate with your supervisor

I think that it is important to discuss with your supervisor at the beginning of your seat which days you will attend the office together. Whilst there are many benefits to coming into the office as a trainee, one of the biggest advantages is sharing an office with your supervisor, being able to run ideas past them and listening to how they talk to clients and approach problems. Your relationship with your supervisor is also likely to strengthen the more that you see them in person. 

2. Communicate with your team

Not only can you learn a lot from your supervisor, but from everyone else in the team. If you are interested in specific work or in working for a specific person, reach out to them and find out if and when they’re going to be in the office. That isn’t to say that I have not been able to reach out to people and seek work successfully whilst working from home, but it is a lot easier to build relationships with new people when you have met them in person. 

It is also important that you plan ahead where you can and make it clear to people where you are going to be and what the best method to contact you will be at any given time. 

3. Be flexible 

A lot can be said for getting into a good routine and knowing where you’re going to be each day. I know that one thing I have found more challenging during hybrid working is that I have never really settled into a routine. However, I think that this is something that we will adapt to, and that everyone is likely to get a lot more out of the hybrid working model if they are flexible on which days to attend the office.  Some tasks might require a physical presence or are better achieved when we are in the office together. For example, some meetings, training sessions or team social events might be more beneficial to attend in person and, where this is the case, we should aim to be available to attend these. I have found that training sessions in person are often more engaging, and I make an effort to be in the office for these. 

4. Enjoy your days at home

Finally, whilst coming into the office has its obvious advantages, I still appreciate many aspects of working from home. Whether it is being home for dinner with my friends or family, or simply being able to put some washing on and do the odd chore, I think that it is important to take these days if you want them and not to feel like you’re out of sight and out of mind. I have found that as long as you communicate well, there is no reason that a day working from home should put you at any disadvantage.

Whilst a successful hybrid model may take some trial and error, the right balance can result in a flexible working style that works for everyone. 

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