In Conversation with Phil Kennedy.
We are immensely proud of how hard our team have been working during the pandemic. Whilst it has not being the easiest of years everyone has shown a great level of resilience and kindness over the last twelve months, these are two of the qualities that we value the most at Ardent. Phil discusses his personal and professional experiences since the announcement of the first national lockdown in March 2020.
What were your aspirations, both personally and professionally at the start of 2020?
At the beginning of last year, I had planned to focus on the client side a little more, taking a lead on searches rather than being more candidate led. On a personal basis, I think I was also loosely entertaining the idea of a couple of half-marathons with friends and committing to the local Park Run. These fell by the way-side, as did a number of travel plans to see family.
What were your initial thoughts about how the virus would affect business and life generally?
In the very early days and before it was clear there was a pandemic, it seemed a long way away and localised. It was hard to imagine we would see such an impact on a global scale as we have. However, as the news from Northern Italy started coming in, I became more concerned there was fundamentally an issue that would affect life here on a day-to-day basis. At that point, I thought we would start to see people working from home where they could and potentially some localised lockdowns until the end of summer 2020.
How have you stayed motivated during lockdown?
Regular team meetings to catch up with the team to discuss progress with roles and candidates is really useful. Also picking up the phone to colleagues and having a chat about what they are seeing, and getting advice is invaluable.
How have you stayed connected with your clients and candidates over the last 12 months?
In some ways it has been easier to keep up with candidates as although people are working more in certain sectors they are happy to take 5 minutes out of their day for a catch up.
What has been your biggest challenge over the last 12 months?
The agency is well set up for remote working so the tech side of things hasn’t been an issue. The initial practical difficulty for me was using garden furniture in the spare bedroom whilst we sorted out more permanent arrangements. On a personal basis not being able to see family and friends has been the biggest challenge and am sure this is the same for everyone.
What have you missed the most about working in London?
I enjoy the buzz of being in the City and meeting people, seeing colleagues and enjoying a Thursday and Friday evening drink. I definitely miss the face-to-face element of the work. Although I don’t miss the commute itself, it was a chance to take time out of the day and listen to a podcast or read a book. I also had chance to pick up some different food on the way home!
What do you think the world of work will look like a year from now?
I imagine the trend toward more flexible work arrangements will continue and the vast majority of firms won’t expect to see employees in the office 5 days a week. In the legal industry I don’t think we will see a movement to full remote working (other than specific practice areas in certain firms) as the benefits of being able to pop into an office or have face to face meetings with colleagues are key from a learning and team perspective – as is the social side of the business. It will be interesting to see which the popular days to work from home are.