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The Covid diaries: Day 3 - Video killed the radio star

The Covid diaries: Day 3 - Video killed the radio star

A daily fly-on-the-wall blog about running a legal business during the Covid-19 crisis.

By Darren Isaacs  - 18 March 2020

We had our latest all-hands team meeting this morning by video call.

Microsoft Teams, as it happens, and quite nifty software it is (note to self: if we become influencers we should be adding #ad somewhere, and taking a glamorous selfie, but then also if we become influencers we will not be lawyers having boring lawyer conference calls in the first place).

Anyway, it worked out fine. For now, quite a novelty. It’s not that we haven’t done video-calling before (we are lawyers, so not known for our tech skills, but nonetheless we did climb the video calling hill a long time ago). It’s just that we have not rolled it out for regular 20+ person chats from home previously, so that was new territory. One of the unexpected delights is seeing how our colleagues live and which room they work from, as well as what they wear when working from home. Plus, the added middle-class thrill of identifying which Farrow & Ball colour our more sophisticated colleagues have painted their walls (hats off to our partner Sophie, who has opted for Cornforth White – a lovely shade indeed).

Aside from that voyeuristic 15 minutes, the rest of the day has been relatively calm. In a massive shock to absolutely no one, we have seen a dramatic uptick in advice requests of how to deal with employees given a pending Covid-induced economic meltdown. Can we reduce their working hours? Can we pay less? Can we temporarily send them home without pay (“furlough” to our US friends)? And so forth. Depressing, but only to be expected.

On the 'plus' side (and I am really stretching the concept of a 'plus side' here), we woke up this morning to learn that the government is pushing back its "IR35" changes for a year (trust me - thrilling news if you know what "IR35" is), and the UK's Information Commissioner (our GDPR watchdog) has issued some common-sense useful guidance on Covid-19 issues. We are hearing that the French regulator is not *quite* as flexible, but c'est la vie as they say...

On the office front, we had one partner bravely turn up for watch duty. London City is quiet, but not as dead as we had expected by now. A bit like we would expect on a lovely bank holiday Monday in summer. We hope he found at least one Pret a Manger open for a sandwich (served with blue latex gloves, #obv).

If you would like to read our Covid diaries starting from day 1 please click here.