International Women's Day 2021 - Sacco Mann Talks To... Rachael Howe at Frodshams

5 Minutes

Amy Haycocks talks to Rachael Howe, Associate Solicitor and Head of Conveyancing at Fro...

Amy Haycocks talks to Rachael Howe, Associate Solicitor and Head of Conveyancing at Frodshams about how the property market is important to our economy and working from home has given women the opportunity to achieve more in their career

Statistics show that women have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic whether that be by being more likely to have been made redundant / on furlough or taking the lead with home-schooling whilst juggling work, whilst other statistics show that increased working from home and flexibility will allow for positive steps forward for Women in work.

Now as we start making steps to move out of lockdown and towards ‘normality’, what do you think the lasting effects from the pandemic will be for Women in Law?

Firstly, I found this information really interesting. However, not surprising. I hope that Women in Law feel more supported in their decision to have a family and a career if that’s what they desire. I’ve found there is a big stigmatism, and possibly a trend that you either have children early in your career or once you have progressed to a substantial role. There has previously been little flexibility with part time work for female solicitors in my experience, but I hope the pandemic have proved that working hours don’t have to be strict 9-5 and this will encourage firms to keep this flexibility.

I know that Frodshams have certainly taken this approach and we have maintained with staff if they want to carry on working from home then they can. We just ask that they come in to the office every few weeks for social and mental health reasons.

Rachael has a wealth of knowledge in Residential conveyancing having focused on this area throughout her working life and education. She is warm and approachable and has played a vital role in the progress of the conveyancing department.

Reflecting on the last 12 months, what have been the biggest challenges for you personally and what are the positives you would like to keep and take forward?

Personally, I have found the unknown and the lack of control the biggest challenge over the last 12 months. In every area of my life. I think the area of work I do generally benefits from my personality that likes to have control and a plan. Not knowing how long the property market was going to be put on hold for and then not knowing how long this ‘boom’ was going to last has been challenging. From fearing job security to supporting our staff in the right way.

The positives I have taken from the last 12 months are most certainly the flexibility of working from home, but mainly that the property market has been supported and it has been acknowledged just how important it is to our economy. The last 12 months have seen the biggest influx of instructions in my career and I am proud to be part of this industry and proud of my colleagues and friends.

What piece of advice do you wish you could go back and give to yourself at the beginning of 2020?

To trust in the universe, I very much tried to plan for every eventuality during the last 12 months, including replanning a wedding 5/6 times. ‘What’s mean for you won’t pass you’ has been a saying that has been very apt in my life this last year. I am hoping my control freak nature has eased slightly and I am trying to take this into my role learning to delegate and trust others more.

As many firms are revaluating working environments, flexible working policies and benefits packages to ensure they’re relevant post-pandemic. What things do you feel make the biggest impact for Women in the workplace?

I think working from home has been the biggest impact on women in the workplace. I believe this gives women the opportunity to achieve more in their career as they can work around their family life. I believe that they may now be likely to now take those jobs further from home, because they are not bound to a commute every day. I know not every firm has taken this in its stride, however those that have will certainly make the market more competitive and working from home will no longer be a benefit that only a few firms offer, but the norm.

What is the thing you are most looking forward to doing once we’re finally in the ‘new normal’?

Celebrating many things that have passed the last 12 months- from birthdays to promotions. I am really excited about meeting the whole firm (I moved firms in the middle of the pandemic) and being able to see agents and clients face to face again. Working from home is brilliant and has brought so much to the industry, but I will not miss Zoom and you cannot beat face to face meetings.