ALB: How has the in-house role adapted since the pandemic began, and how are you ensuring your team doesn’t suffer from burnout?
VINCENT NG, general counsel, Klook
In-house lawyers have had to become even more agile, adaptable and empathetic since the pandemic. As the world entered the new normal, our customer expectations and business demands also changed. Our legal team has had to be creative and take on an entrepreneurial mindset to support the rapid adoption of new ideas in our business. For instance, we launched Klook Live!, which uses live-streaming as a channel to engage with our customers. We’ve also had to be empathetic not only with customers, suppliers and service providers, but first and foremost, with our colleagues who are facing business pressures and challenges. Empathy and frequent communications are the key to ensuring our colleagues are doing fine. Before the pandemic hit, we were already fully set up for working and collaborating remotely. Since we set up the legal team in 2018, we have been having weekly team meetings via Zoom with our 14 colleagues across five offices, so that everybody feels engaged and gets to hear what other team members are working on. When we began working from home this year, we increased the frequency of manager one-on-one catch-ups with team members. We are also very fortunate to have a group of empathetic managers and motivated colleagues. Technology helps, but ultimately, having the right people is most important.
ROHAN RAICHAUDHURI, regional general counsel APAC and company secretary, Sigfox
We have had time to get used to working from home (WFH) during the pandemic, and the critical factor for me has been management of time. WFH has posed unique challenges for me, amplified by young children. Multiple aspects, including routine, discipline and enhanced fitness played (and continues to play) a vital role. I’ve had to increasingly prioritise my matters (requesting inputs from clients on expected timelines), be prepared with specific queries for a well-structured and efficiently strategised conference or video call to expedite the process and ensure business-critical items are not affected. I echo our company’s policy of placing significance on employee well-being. I’ve organised and participated in the conference and video calls frequently through the pandemic with colleagues based in the region and globally covering multiple topics outside of work, including mental health. Open channels of communication are paramount and with improved access to technology communications platforms, we are all better able to stay in touch and cover for and support each other during such an unprecedented period during our lifetime. There is light at the end of the tunnel with a possible vaccine in the horizon – however, let us pray for the more than 1.1million families who have lost loved ones, while we must continue to take precautions and stay safe!
PARVEEN MAHTANI, chief legal officer, Mahindra Lifespaces
Since the pandemic began, there has been a digital acceleration. Conferences are now organised through Microsoft Teams and documents are being shared through tools such as WeTransfer. One has to re-evaluate the value proposition and automate processes to be able to handle the increased complexities. In a time of distance, we have to get close to the business and understand its priorities. I organise knowledge-sharing sessions and online team-bonding activities to keep the team constantly energised and motivated. People need a sense of belonging and purpose. We must facilitate communication of the achievements within the company and celebrate the smaller successes so that they continue to feel connected with the company.