We have heard stories from our clients and other attorneys about the difficulties that working men and women are having balancing their desire to be safe during the Covid-19 pandemic while earning a living or giving their children an education. We have heard about factories where there have been many positive tests. Sometimes were hear about all the steps management has taken to try to reduce the spread of the disease and sometimes we hear about management that is only focused on production and doesn’t really seem to care about the safety of their employees.
We have also heard about workers who have no choice but to face an increased risk of getting Covid-19. These are the first responders, police, and fire and healthcare workers. There are delivery drivers. There are grocery store workers and restaurant staff. There are teachers who are caught between the competing legitimate desires to remain safe and yet complete the mission of educating our children.
We have slowly started returning to some union halls to meet our clients. Those locals are very protective and make sure that there are a limited number of people in the building, that everybody practices social distancing, that there is plenty of hand sanitizer around and that everybody is wearing a mask. We had a number of paper masks with our firm’s name and number on it that we bring with us when we travel to these union halls. If somebody needs a mask, we have one for them.
We have been working full steam on behalf of the injured workers we represent since April. At the beginning of the pandemic we were all working from home trying to accomplish what we could. Since then we have had limited numbers of people in the office and now have about half of our lawyers and staff working in the office and half working from home. We try to keep the census in the office low so we are not on top of each other. We are wearing masks anytime we are away from our desks or when we go to talk with somebody at their desk. Just as we notice when a co-worker has a new outfit or a new bag, we now notice when a co-worker has a new mask. When we do so, we are standing away from them and allowing our co-workers to put on their mask. We will call each other from the next office rather than walk in and increase the risk of transmission. We have put Plexiglas windows in front of higher traffic desks such as our receptionist’s desk. We have also put Hepa air filters around the office. We have made sure that expensive Chicago parking does not impact our staff members and we have kept them safe by not making them take public transportation during the pandemic.
The pandemic has made us very courteous with each other. If we see somebody walking down an aisle in the office we will step aside to give them space and let them pass. We eat at our desks and quickly move in and out of the kitchen when we get coffee or something we put in the refrigerator. We wash our hands or use sanitizer when we go to the kitchen. We have all gotten much more tech savvy as all of us, even the older lawyers and staff members, have learned too login to our network and to give client’s the confidence that they are getting everything from us even if we are working at the dining room table in our homes.
We will take the lessons we have learned from the pandemic and use them in the future when the Chicago loop is again bustling and traffic is jammed.
We are aware that your workplace may not be able to adapt the way we have. That is why we are coming to work, whether that means being in the office, coming to a union hall, or turning on the computer at 6:30 am while still wearing our slippers, to protect those who have more risk in their jobs. That risk can be Covid-19 or it can be slipping and falling or injuring an elbow due to repetitive motion at a work station. We are here (wherever that may be) for you. We are staying safe but us staying on top of our clients’ cases. If you need us pick up the phone and give us call or send us an e-mail, or put on your mask and meet us at your local.