Trenches Law News • June 8th, 2021
At Trenches Law, we’re a progressive organisation with a team of people possessing a range of extremely varied skills. So, we decided to let some of our staff fill you in on what their typical working day entails – first up is Marcelle Walker, our wayleave officer…
What time does your day start and what’s the first thing you do?
My alarm goes off at 7am and, ideally, I like to begin the day with a few simple yoga stretches to help wake me up. We have a fabulous teacher who runs a class for the whole team every Friday, so I like to put a little of what I learn into practice whenever I can. I then brace myself for getting my children up!
What does the rest of your morning routine look like before work begins?
Busy! I ensure my two children are organised and ready for school, which despite the best laid plans always results in a mad dash to find their shoes before the bus collects them! Then I log on to my computer, while my first cup of tea of the day is brewing. I like to be online before my day ‘officially’ starts so that there are no last-minute surprises!
Your working day starts – what’s first on your list?
I always begin by catching up on emails. I work part-time, so it’s imperative that none of my working day is wasted. Although every query is important, dedicating the first part of the morning to this task really sets me up for the day and allows me to concentrate on meatier jobs.
What one item could you not be without to help you do your job?
I’m a bit old fashioned, and find visual aids are necessary in helping me remember important things. Because of this, my notebook and pen are crucial – I write EVERYTHING down and then filter what I need, and I have a weekly ‘purge’ so I don’t build up non-essential information!
In terms of technology, we use several systems and tools. I particularly love interrogating the Land Registry when I’m working with my client’s wayleave requests. It means I can identify the correct stakeholders to understand the extent of their ownership and obtain the correct permissions. It’s a brilliant and user-friendly system.
How do you prioritise your tasks for the day?
It’s important to appreciate that every request for information is important to the person that asked the question, but it’s crucial not to get sidetracked by incoming communications – and ensure that tasks for that day are completed too. My week is usually structured around my client’s priorities, for example reviewing and closing outstanding wayleaves in relation to specific locations.
Lunchtime arrives – how do you spend this time?
Working part-time means that I always take my lunch at my desk. But, I do make a point of regularly stepping outside to get some fresh air – I live in the countryside and find that a few moments away from the screen helps clear my thoughts, allows me to refocus, and possibly even means that I come up with the odd brainwave!
Does your day typically consist of meetings and if so, how do you prefer to fit these into the day?
I don’t have too many meeting commitments, which means I look forward to those that I do have! Working remotely, it’s so important to not become isolated – even just seeing other faces via online meetings is great in helping you feel part of the team, and the ‘bigger picture’.
When does your working day finish?
My day officially finishes at 2.30pm, but I’ll generally work until the children come home – and if I’m expecting an email, I’ll leave my laptop on in the background. I usually sign off by 6pm and believe it’s important to mentally ‘disconnect’ from the job – physically closing the door to my office (dining room) helps me to do that.
How do you get ready for the next day?
I always end the day with a clear desk. If there’s anything that I’ve not managed to close off in the day, I’ll place a little note at my workstation so I can begin with that the next morning.
What’s your wind-down tactic on an evening?
I enjoy painting and usually have something on the go which really allows me to take my mind off work. I also enjoy cooking, so we’ll usually all gather in the kitchen in the evening and catch up on our news while I’m rustling up dinner. It’s a nice way to leave the day behind and reconnect with home – but I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say the odd glass of wine helps too!
What mantra do you live by?
“It’s not a problem until it’s a problem. I don’t like to focus on the negative – worrying is a waste of energy and spoils your day. Also, you can’t go too far wrong with what I tell my kids each morning when they leave the house: “Work hard, be kind”.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering becoming a wayleave officer?
Go for it! I’m from a completely unrelated work background, but the role utilises so many transferable skills – not least of all being organised and able to communicate effectively on all levels. As a parent returning to the workplace after a career break, I was surprised how quickly and easily I stepped back into the ‘professional world’. There is a wealth of untapped talent out there, so everyone should feel encouraged to try a new career path!