By Claire Kowarsky

Guest panelists Daniel Zohny (FIFA) and Ivan Mijatovic (Swiss Re) shared their experiences and learnings in an event hosted by HSS IPM on December 11th, 2020. Registrants included lawyers and brand protection professionals from around 20 countries spanning five continents.

My three key take-outs from the session were:

1. There is no “one size fits all” approach that works to manage teams remotely, one’s leadership style should be adapted to suit the needs of the individual team member.

2. Legal teams could reap the rewards of previous efforts to build strong working relationships, enabling better mutual understanding where projects had to be delayed.

3. Self care is key, even though this could be seen to be “obvious”, the events of 2020 were a great reminder that leaders must conciously and deliberately consider their own well-being. Ivan and Daniel had both incorporated regular runs into their daily routine, to manage stress and promote health.

Ivan described how the molecular biology background of Christian Mumenthaler, CEO Swiss Re, had influenced the preparedness of the organization, which had already established work from home infrastructure prior to the pandemic. Swiss Re, as a re-insurance business at the forefront of dealing with disasters, was thus able to transition smoothly to remote working.

Daniel shared some of the less obvious impacts from the ongoing changes to business travel for FIFA. FIFA had traditionally attracted dynamic and talented employees who were excited by the opportunities to travel as part of their role. For many international employees who had moved to Zurich to work at FIFA, the office was a key source of socializing. The switch to working from home was extra challenging for these groups.

Feedback from the event was very positive, with one attendee commenting, “Really great discussion. The content was applicable to anyone (not just IP) who are working during this pandemic. Very engaging; I really enjoyed it. Thanks again.”