Tell us about Muckle LLP
Muckle LLP is a North East-based independent law firm for businesses, with specialists in virtually every area of commercial law. Our large team of employment lawyers, experienced in all employment and HR related issues, have been working closely with many North East and Cumbria based businesses, helping them to handle the challenges created by COVID-19 along with other pressures affecting employers at the moment.
How has COVID-19 impacted employment law?
COVID-19 has transformed the way we work. Across all sectors, widespread change of working arrangements, which would usually have taken substantial project-planning over several months or even years, has been achieved in the course of a few days or weeks. Workforces have shown amazing levels of adaptability and ingenuity and employers that were reluctant to allow staff to work flexibly and/or remotely have had to adapt quickly to change.
In many areas the working arrangements have been beneficial to employers and employees and have become a blueprint for the future need to respond to a diverse range of challenges from social mobility to climate change.
How has the firm adapted to changing workplace practices?
As lockdown was enforced, our entire workforce switched to working from home overnight. Over the last two years we’ve upgraded our IT infrastructure so that all our people can work remotely and do virtually everything they need to support clients wherever they are. We’ve also been working on the cultural shift to agile working for over 4 years.
It meant we were, fortunately, well prepared and equipped to cope with the pandemic and it didn’t affect the service we provided. The response from clients has been brilliant, because there has been no difference in our performance. If anything, our productivity has probably increased since lockdown.
Now we have begun a phased return to the office, with a host of measures in place to keep people safe, including hand sanitisation stations, clear signage on hygiene, social distancing and meeting and break room protocol and a one-way-system on the office floor. Each employee also receives a personal care pack upon entering the building for the first time, with face masks, anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.
But there is no pressure on our people to return to the office if they don’t want to. Just prior to the pandemic, employees were given the autonomy to choose to work where it suits them and their clients best.
You are delivering a virtual employment roadshow series, what will they cover?
The virtual roadshow format allows us to focus each session on a distinct area. The ongoing response to COVID-19 and the impact it’s had on employment law and the modern workplace will naturally be a major part of the discussions. On top of this there are also huge environmental and social issues to consider and let’s not forget about Brexit.
There are some big topics to cover and we’ve got five excellent sessions for people to attend online, from September 23.
Wednesday, 23 September – 9.30-11AM
Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and where is employment law and practice now?
Wednesday, 7 October – 9.30-11AM
What’s new in employment law? The key legislation and case developments and what to look out for in the future.
Wednesday, 14 October – 9.30-11AM
Employing migrant workers: what employers need to know about the changing landscape of immigration law.
Wednesday, 4 November – 9.30-11AM
Build Back Better: An opportunity to rethink how we approach diversity and inclusion in the region.
Wednesday, 11 November – 9:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m.
The future of work and employment law post the pandemic.
How will the virtual events be delivered?
We usually spend each Autumn travelling around the North East and Cumbria presenting an annual update on all things related to employment law. It’s a series of discussions that we all enjoy and get loads from as a team. We are obviously going digital this year, but we’re making the event as interactive as possible, with time for questions and discussion at the end of each session.
An upside of hosting these roadshows virtually also means more people can come along. We’ve had a fantastic response so far, with over 500 people already signed up. The more the merrier!
Who will benefit from tuning in?
The sessions are ideal for any employer, in-house lawyer or HR professional. There are so many talking points and we’ll talk practically about what we are seeing day to day and what we feel employers need to be concerned about (and what they don’t!).
We’ll also seek to provide employers with the key information for them to plan for the future of their organisations.
There’s much to discuss and in each session we will explore the options for employers and leave you with some practical advice that you can use in your organisations.