Working From Home LogoLet’s rewind a few months to December 2019. In December each year, the Partners at Ison Harrison submit their plans for the following year, myself included. Well it’s say to say that not one business plan included anything about Covid-19.

I think pretty much every business is in the same boat. Even going back to the end of February 2020 and my diary was full of meetings. I have A LOT of meetings, I meet with clients, contracts, staff, management. Now, of course, we can’t meet anyone face to face and I’ve realised that I actually quite enjoy meeting people, I am a people person – something which perhaps I had never appreciated before. So I’ve replaced physical meetings with video conferencing on platforms such as Zoom. Turns out I love video conferencing and whilst it can never replace face to face interaction, in many ways it is actually more time efficient.

Times have changed but actually the work we are doing hasn’t, we may be dealing with matters in a slightly different way and there are clearly different considerations when we are advising businesses but for all of the uncertainty, for all the change, it really is business as usual.

The business sales and acquisitions I am dealing with are still going through albeit I have had to adjust to working off electronic documents rather than printing everything, but even that is beneficial to the environment and something we will adopt going forward.

Business owners still want advice about how to structure their business, their contracts and the relations with business partners so life goes on.

There are areas that have changed. It is safe to say that I have never provided as much advice around force majeure clauses in my entire career as what I have in the last few weeks. Commercial restructure working also seems to be increasing as business owners look to de-risk aspects of a business from risks associated with Coronavirus.

Increasingly business owners also want to ensure that businesses are protected from disasters and the incapacity of a business owner.

There are always going to be challenges for businesses, whether they are economic issues, legal issues or a pandemic. My role is to help businesses through this time, as we have with other challenges, and in this regard things are very much as they have always been.

We have changed the way we work, perhaps forever, as I am sure many other businesses have and will. My direct dial still reaches me, my emails are received and responded to, I don’t send or receive as much physical mail but perhaps that is a good thing.

We are here for our clients, like we have been for over 40 years, perhaps not in the same manner but still delivering the same fantastic service that we pride ourselves on. We adjust, we move forward, we thrive and we want to ensure that our clients do as well.

Richard CoulthardRichard Coulthard
Partner & Head of Corporate