Working Remotely

Connie kindly updated Slawyers with key links relating to the flood situation in Southern Alberta. As you can imagine, for those of us with close family, friends, colleagues and clients in the affected areas, the situation of our Southern neighbours is top of mind.

I am so proud of the way my colleagues have dealt with this situation. Our Calgary Managing Partner, Doreen Saunderson, has been keeping our staff updated with information. Her first email, June 20, 2013 just shy of midnight shared “We hope that all of you and your families are safe. Caring for them is your priority”, along with information about logistics, safety, and circulating the message to colleagues who weren’t connected to email.

Practical strategies for keeping clients and staff informed were circulated. Information included:

  • changing voicemail with a suggested message
  • dealing with scheduled court appearances
  • a reminder of remote access procedures
  • re-routing the Calgary office phone and fax numbers to Edmonton
  • buddy systems for those who did not have access to communications
  • methods for client service continuity

My firm had a contingency plan in place for a major disruption in business. It used to be called the “Pandemic Plan”. Our technology structure allows for anyone and nearly everyone to work remotely with access to their own desktop from any internet connection. Yesterday, our technology trainer (who is a Calgarian) gave our new articling students in Edmonton their computer training via Skype from home. Our IT group has been busy helping to manage our business continuity. Clients are being served, work continues.

Along with client service, my firm values community service. Many of my colleagues, with the encouragement of the firm, chose to assist others with cleanup tasks yesterday. They reacted to the City of Calgary call for volunteers, coordinated through the Calgary City News Blog. You may have seen the news reports of the hundreds of volunteers who responded. A first hand report form a colleague who helped out spoke of the devastation in the Bowness neighbourhood being “beyond terrible” and how most people will have to gut their basements and many will have to rebuild main floors as well. The message “Covered in mud from head to toe but helped two families” was circulated to the whole firm. I am so proud of my colleagues, the spirit of Calgarians, and all of those who use their abilities to help others. I am sure that help will continue for those who have monumental cleanup and rebuilding tasks in Southern Alberta.


  1. Thanks for the update, Shaunna. Some great reminders and hints on for business continuance planning.

    A big thank you to everyone pitching in! Those of us who are little too distant to volunteer are sending good vibes their way.