THE (NOT SO) LONELY LITIGATOR’S CLUB (4): ELIZABETH THOMAS

Elizabeth Thomas knows a thing or too about “remote” working and was the ideal candidate to be the next member of our club. Elizabeth is a Partner in Healthcare Litigation at Hempsons (London) but has been working from home for the past six years, four of which have been from Guernsey, in the Channel Islands.

1 Where are you working from now?

My desk in our sitting room in Guernsey. In the first few years of home working I had a small and very unstable garden table redeployed into the house. Three years ago we invested in a proper desk, desktop computer and office chair and so I confess I am pretty comfy. Although it wasn’t always the case and I can sympathise with those who are making do.

2 What has been most difficult about working remotely?

Having to justify the benefits, prior to March 2020 that is!

When starting a family six years ago I was fortunate that Bertie Leigh (who was our Senior Partner) took a punt that I could make full-time home working a success. Over the years I have come across the occasional sceptic and have found myself explaining that home working can be a positive for employers, employees and clients. Home working needs no apology.

3 What has been your biggest technical challenge?

At the start it was learning how to analyse medical records on a screen, but with time this gets easier. Rather than Post-it notes in bundles, I make myself a document with pdf page numbers which does the same job.

4 Is there anything (work wise) that you wish you had with you?

Erm…I’d be very happy if the office would send me some of those delicious chocolate biscuits. Other than that I am happily set up.

5 What has been the most helpful thing you’ve learned?

Not to drop the commute entirely. In the early days of home working I sometimes didn’t leave the house for days on end. So I set myself up a pseudo-commute. I leave the house (with the long-suffering dog) at 7:30am every morning and walk for at least 45 minutes. I have found that this helps to separate work from home (at least mentally).

6 Do you think this is going to change the way you work in the future?

Home working will become more of a norm in the industry and in parallel technology will continue to improve. However, I wouldn’t want this to curb my regular trips to England: a walk through Temple and a visit to an NHS Trust client physically reinforces my academic love of the job.

7 What is the first thing you are going to do when you are out of lockdown?

Fly my in-laws and mother over to Guernsey and possibly think about re-booking that family holiday to Venice…