Working during a pandemic, finding a new normal…Delyan

With time flying it’s easy to forget that our CHR employees have been working from home now for seven months. For the most, this was a huge change to their daily working lifestyle and with CHR being busier than ever, it was important to ensure they felt comfortable and supported during this transition.

In this mini blog series, we’ve reached out to three of our colleagues to ask them their honest opinion on how CHR handled this move and how they are finding their new working environment.

Delyan is one of CHR’s Senior Associates and shares his views on how the Pandemic has affected him.

What is your role at CHR, how long have you been with the firm and what did you do before you joined CHR?
“I am a Senior Associate and have been with CHR for a year and two months. Before CHR I was a postdoctoral researcher at University College London.”

How have the last few months been for you? Have you been staying safe and healthy? What has CHR’s response to the pandemic been like?
“There have been some challenges and frustrations since the pandemic took hold, which I am sure many others have also experienced. For me it was mostly adapting to working from home full time and partitioning the flat with my wife in a way that we can both do our jobs effectively. We both have multiple calls with colleagues and clients so can’t be in the same room! We were also meant to move into a new house which was postponed due to the pandemic. That being said, I think I have also been very lucky that I can do my job from home undisrupted and I am grateful to have kept good health and spirit during this period.

I think CHR’s response to the pandemic has been thoughtful and well executed – work continued with minimal disruption and announcements giving more clarity on the situation were made at the right times.”

When CHR transitioned to working remotely, how did we facilitate the transition and what kind of support and resources were CHR employees offered?
“I really don’t have recollection on what were the exact things CHR did! I remember I had everything in place to work from home as I started working remotely a week before we closed the office.

The one thing I can comment on is that the CHR’s Operations team has been great at “troubleshooting” issues with equipment and resources remotely - for example I received a replacement for my laptop which was having issues in just one day! That really helped in minimizing any disruptions to my work.”

CHR is still growing despite the current global pandemic, what do you believe is the key to CHR’s success?
“I think there are two major factors. One is that due to the nature of our business the transition to “remote working” has been seamless. We were already working in teams which were mixed with team members from the London and Cambridge offices, thus internal communication was already virtual to an extent. Furthermore, communication with clients was also mostly virtual.

The other factor, in my opinion, is that CHR adapted fast to the new reality – we did not stop our recruitment process but rather made it completely virtual. Some aspects of our work, such as conference coverage also changed drastically as many conferences were held virtually and we proactively changed and adapted to these new formats.”

One of the key strengths of CHR is our company culture, has the pandemic had an impact on CHR’s culture? How has the firm worked to preserve its values and its culture, as well as the overall sense of connectedness between the team?
“I think it is inevitable that an event such as the pandemic will have some impact on a company’s culture. However, I think CHR has gone to great lengths to try and minimize this impact and keep our collective feeling of “togetherness” as high as possible.

Examples I can think of are CHR organizing several company-wide zoom quizzes and lunch-time meeting groups. Additionally, the company is supporting any responsible outdoor social activities that could bring colleagues together, such as weekend picknicks or afternoon coffee-breaks.”

How has the pandemic impacted the way you work and has it affected the way you engage with your clients and colleagues?
“I think the pandemic has made it more difficult for me to separate work from other activities as there are no physical barriers to break-up your day such as your morning and evening commute, going out of the office for lunch, or the lunch-time Mario Kart sessions we used to have in the London office.

With working from home, it is up to you to introduce such barriers which I have found challenging. Interaction with colleagues has been good but unfortunately largely limited to projects which I am on.

Another aspect is that with so many new people joining the company I have found myself working with many colleagues I have only met virtually! In terms of client communication not much has changed in my view – we are still there for our clients aiming to be their thought partners in a professional and friendly way!”

Huge thank you to Delyan who has shared his views with us. Keep a look out for the next blog from Ashley our Operations Coordinator!