Yeing-Lang Chong, Partner
My daily wake-up call generally comes from my baby daughter chatting to herself or to the dozens of soft toys lying in her cot. Being organised and time keeping is crucial from this point onwards, as I go through the routine of getting ourselves ready for the day ahead. I do the nursery run and head to work.
Although I am mainly based in the Woking office, I can find myself working from any of the firm’s offices on any day. My journey to work can be different week to week, and it makes for a more interesting ‘commute’.
I can also be found working from home. This is particularly beneficial when I have appointments at our Twickenham office, where I live.
A lot of our work is carried out digitally, and so long as we have a good broadband connection, we are well resourced to be able to offer a seamless and efficient service to our clients from anywhere, without wasting time travelling between offices, but whilst also allowing some flexibility in terms of where we base our working day.
On arrival at work, I check emails and voicemails that have come in overnight. I also check my outlook diary and plan my day ahead. If there is a space in my diary, inevitably this will be filled up with appointments and tasks as the day progresses. I check the diaries of some of my colleagues; I do not always get to see or speak to my colleagues on a daily basis, so this is my way of management on a low scale.
No two days are ever the same. I advise both employers and employees and my day can be extremely varied. In a morning, I could be meeting an employer who wants my help defending an employment tribunal claim as their ex-employee has claimed unfair dismissal, followed by a telephone consultation with a senior executive on the terms of a settlement agreement.
Over lunch, I will often be found eating at my desk, while reading up documents or preparing for afternoon meetings. As a team we also regularly get together by Skype and catch up on the latest developments in employment law, or brainstorm ideas to develop the success of the firm. I may also be out for lunch with a colleague, or a contact, or attending a networking event.
Like many lawyers, our working day is intense and full, with contract drafting, negotiations and meetings with clients and colleagues. Employment problems will crop up at any time of the day and clients want their concerns addressed by the end of the day or ready for the following morning. I speak regularly to my colleagues during the day – not only to make sure they are okay, but to brainstorm ideas and issues on cases being dealt with. We maintain an open dialogue which makes for a supportive environment.
My working day generally ends around 6pm, as I go home to tend to my baby daughter. If I need to however, I have the flexibility to leave earlier, and catch up later in the evening after my daughter has gone to bed. More often than not, this will also be an opportunity to catch up on some non-urgent and administrative tasks and plan for the following day.