Freya Dearman: A Day In My Work Life
Hi Freya. What’s your role at Howarths and how did you become part of the team?
I am the HR & Employment Law Assistant at Howarths. I started my journey with the company after a weeks’ work experience which I completed back in 2019, and the rest is history!
What are we likely to find you doing on a day to day basis?
I am heavily involved in the handbook and contract creation process, which is so pivotal to setting out employers’ foundations and relationships with their employees. With oversight from our experienced HR & legal team, I draft employment contracts, staff handbooks, data protection documents and policies for all our clients, old and new.
I also carry out legal research and conversations with our clients to understand how things work in the real world, which can often lead to me working out bespoke clauses and wording for individual businesses to make sure their legal and business requirements are met in equal measure. Getting to know and understand more about our clients is undoubtedly my favourite part of the role, and I love listening to the important work they do and working with them to develop their commercial focus further.
What kind of problem might you solve on a typical day?
The types of queries I deal with are often about employment law documents, so I might be providing advice on how policies work in practice to a business owner, or explaining how new rights and entitlements affect what a business already has in place.
Recently, (sorry, I know you were probably getting excited about the C-word not being mentioned yet!) I’ve been advising on documentation to support the changes that businesses have had to make to their workforces due to Covid, including the Job Retention Scheme.
My main focus is on supporting clients with meeting their legal requirements so their sole focus can remain on their business.
I have also helped to improve processes such as the way client data about work practices is collected by us for the purpose of drafting new documentation, ultimately making this quicker and easier for our client-base.
How has the pandemic shaped or changed your role recently?
The pandemic has resulted in me making a move back to my family home in Essex which has been a sad and challenging time. I have had to say goodbye to my work family for a while. However, as many people can probably relate to, this period of time has brought ample opportunity to experiment with new working practices and has helped me to realise that whilst I do miss everyday interaction with the rest of the team, working from home does have its perks. I have certainly, to some degree, noticed my productivity levels rise and find more time to practise self-care through exercise and general downtime. I still get to have weekly meetings with the team still via Zoom (I really am only a Zoom call away!), and I now have an excuse to go up and see my favourite city of Leeds (not a very loyal southerner, me!), on a regular basis.
All in all, it hasn’t been a bad turnout, as I have had a team that has supported and encouraged my development, even whilst I am currently 250 miles away! Anything is possible when you put your mind to it and have a team that see, and truly want you to achieve, your goals.