GGFL, COVID And The Future - A Message to Our Clients

Key board with sticky on it saying 'welcome back' and face masks and hand sanitizer close by

GGFL, COVID And The Future – A Message to Our Clients

In March 2020, as Canada began to realize the severity of COVID-19, we at GGFL decided to close our office and become a virtual firm.

Had we decided to do that in ‘normal’ times, it would likely have taken years. With COVID looming large, it took us roughly a week.

We asked a great deal of our staff and our clients during this emergency transition, but together we dealt with it, and we dealt with it well.

Most of our staff has worked from home since March 2020, while a small core team stayed in the office to manage our office and paper.

We owe those who stayed behind a debt of gratitude for working in such uncertain times.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to our clients, who adapted from paper to electronic delivery of documents with great aplomb.

It was a huge learning curve for many clients but one that helped us continue to deliver our services effectively.

While dealing with all the physical and emotional change that COVID brought to our staff, we remained focused on our firm’s values – values that have been at the core of GGFL’s success since our founding in 1947.

At GGFL, we have four core values:

Expertise. Developing, sharing and demonstrating expertise.

Accountability. Owning, knowing and doing what needs to be done.

Continuous Improvement.  Seeking innovation and growth opportunities.

Trusting Relationships. Building caring and trusting relationships.

During the past 18 months, maintaining trusting relationships is the one that has caused us the most concern.

Our history and success have been built on creating personal face-to-face relationships with our clients.  But how do you maintain those relationships when you can only communicate remotely? Can it replace face-to-face interaction? No.

What’s Next?

Like every other business, we have been asking ourselves that question for many months.

While we have no intention of continuing as a virtual firm, we have learned many valuable and positive lessons since March 2020.

Our teams work better when they have greater flexibility in where, and sometimes when, they work.

In other words, they can work better when they can fit in an hour for family responsibilities, fitness or rest during the workday.

All the expertise we have absorbed from high-level publications, and all the expert advice we sought tells us this:  The office is no longer where we work every day.  Our workspace only includes the office.

In June, we introduced our GGFL ‘experiment.’

It is a plan to create a mixed environment and has staff divide their time between working in the office and working at home.

We also know that our clients will want that same flexibility.  There are times when they will want our interactions to be in person and times when it works better for them to hop onto a video call.

Client And Staff Well Being

The health and safety of our staff and clients is our top priority.

As remarkable as our sudden pivot to a virtual firm was, businesses are learning that it is far more challenging to return to the office than leave.

We are deliberately calling our next phase an ‘experiment.’ Nobody, from the largest multi-nationals to the smallest retail stores, has the final answer to how we successfully emerge from this pandemic.

At GGFL, we might need to shift course as we learn, but however this journey ends, we will not compromise on either our professional commitment to clients or the health and welfare of our dedicated staff.

Josh Engel, Managing Partner