A Day in the Life: Marketing Assistant at HMB, Hillary Mangiaforte, Shares Her Experience Working Remotely Amidst a Global Crisis

When COVID-19 came about, when did your firm make the decision to have employees work from home?

The firm began working from home in mid-March. Our team has been amazing at adapting to the changes in our technology, communication styles, and the way we interface with our clients.

What were your biggest struggles in adapting to working remotely (if any)?

The biggest struggle was getting used to the idea that home=office. Just like how living at work would feel strange, working at home was an odd sensation at first. But now it’s habit!

A lot of people found activities they’d never considered before – such as puzzles – to keep them busy during lock-down. What are some activities that kept you sane during the last 3 months?

There have been a lot of home improvement ideas batted around! Which colors to paint a room, which bushes to plant in the backyard, where we could put a screened-in porch… Unfortunately, it seems we’re all talk in my house because only one bathroom has been painted (purple), but dreaming up the changes is still pretty fun.

How were you able to make working from home the “new normal?”

I was able to create a new normal by associating one spot in the house for work and work alone. In an office it’s much easier to stick to a routine because our brain knows we’re in a professional setting. But working from home, our minds can tend to wander to chores or a to-do list. To keep my brain in “professional mode”, I only use my desk for work. No bills, no games, and no YouTube allowed at my desk after the work day ends. That way, my desk is only associated with working. Doing so makes it easy for me to get back into that mindset each morning.

What have become your favorite go-to resources to stay up-to-date with current events in the legal industry during this crisis?

My favorite resource is the LMA events page. Seeing and hearing people is so crucial at this moment, but insights on hot-button issues from intelligent industry experts really keeps me coming back.

What are your expectations upon returning to the office?

I expect that returning to the office will feel just as odd as it once seemed to shelter-in-place. I know that COVID-19 is making it difficult to predict much of anything, but I know that my comfort and the comfort of my colleagues will be taken into consideration by HMB with every step forward.

What is your biggest takeaway from this experience, and what are you most hopeful for?

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we just don’t know how far into the tunnel we are. My biggest takeaway and my biggest hope, is that this time in limbo is giving us all a moment to examine the tracks laid ahead of us. What positive pre-COVID things do we want to bring with us? What less-positive things do we want to leave behind? What does a post-COVID world look like and how can we as individuals and as a collective create something better?

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