Episode 11

How Deliveroo Inspired Delivery Of Legal Services

Merlie Calvert is the founder and CEO of Farillio and a former top London competition lawyer. Merlie has created an ecosystem of on-demand services such as legal advice for the SME community and has made it her mission to democratise professional services by using tech to change the way professional services such as legal advice are offered and consumed.

About my guest

Merlie Calvert is the CEO and founder of Farillio an award-winning tech startup in the business and legal services sector. Merlie is passionate about her firm’s mission to ensure that no small business owner struggles, because they can’t get access to the information materials or expert help they need on a basis that they can afford.

https://www.farill.io

Transcript

Chris: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Oven Ready HR podcast. We tell compelling stories from the world of work to bring you captivating and thought provoking conversations with expert analysis and insights. To find out more about your show host Chris Taylor, visit oven oven-ready hr.com and please do remember to rate and review us. You can also follow us too on Twitter at OvenHr. Thanks.

[00:00:30] In this weeks oven-ready hr podcast , we return to the SME and startup sectors, given their vital importance as both a source of innovation and as an engine of growth to aid economic recovery, Amongst the many challenges new businesses face access to expert understandable and affordable legal services has long been a source of frustration.

[00:00:50] Professions such as the legal and accountancy sectors have created what many business owners consider is a monopolistic, impenetrable and homogenous service that short on innovation and long on cost. Technological innovation has of course shaken up virtually every business sector so why not the law? This week’s guest is from the firm belief that the way businesses access legal expertise is ripe for innovation. She’s on a mission to democratize how companies buy legal help. Merlie Calvert is the CEO and founder of Farillio an award-winning tech startup in the business and legal services sector. Merlie is passionate about her firm’s mission to ensure that no small business owner struggles, because they can’t get access to the information materials or expert help they need on a basis that they can afford. Welcome to Oven Ready HR Merlie lovely to have you with us now, in my introduction, I’ve described the legal profession as one that cloaks itself in an impenetrable language and strange rituals and a service that always seems to cost a great deal of money am I being a bit unfair?

[00:01:55] Merlie: [00:01:56] Hello, Chris, thank you for having me. I think it always, it makes us sound like the Knights Templar. Doesn’t it? I don’t know where this reputation comes from. I don’t know any lawyer who wakes up in the morning and thinks, you know what? I’m going to baffle my clients by talking the equivalent of Mandarin to them. I’m going to give them a really rubbish experience, I’m going to go AWOL right at the point where they have the biggest burning question that they have ever experienced in their lives. And then I’m going to flood them with a load of paperwork that is just unfathomable. It just doesn’t happen in reality.

[00:02:26] And yet it does happen in reality. And I think there are so many contributory factors to it. I think the way that law firms traditionally are structured, I think the way that we train people. I do think we’ve got to come away from training and appraising lawyers on the basis of how good they are at doing the same thing over and over again, as opposed to being far more T-shaped I guess, much more broad in terms of their exposure and the knowledge and understanding, but it’s a tough one. This is a profession that has operated in a particular way for centuries.

[00:03:04] Chris: [00:03:04] Do you think the media in the way it has portrayed the profession as, rather impenetrable? Because if you look at, in any sort of procedural drama or crime drama or court drama, legal drama, it the court language is archaic and people are wearing wigs and gowns and it all seems very complicated. And it seems to be costing a great deal of money. Is that, is the media somewhat to blame? Do you think

[00:03:31] Merlie: [00:03:31] We all love to bash a lawyer don’t we? I think yes and no I mean the media are the people’s champion and that’s an important role that they play and the profession does need to listen.

[00:03:41] I think if there’s one thing we’ve been very guilty of, particularly in the last 20 years, It’s been focusing far more on innovation from a kind of selfish perspective. So what’s good for the law firm. What makes us more efficient and profitable? What helps us keep talent because there’s big competition for talent amongst the profession.

[00:04:02] But I think what we haven’t focused on anywhere near enough is customer experience and most other corporate brands. In fact, most other brands in any business, regardless of the stage that they’re at, starts with the customer, finishes with the customer and keeps the customer happy all the way. If they don’t, they don’t survive. And I think that’s the bit, that’s been the, the missing focus for the profession for recent times. Definitely. It’s one of the reasons why I think everybody is so hung up on the phrase, legal tech, because it’s almost seen as a sticking plaster well if we just put tech in with what we do, then it shows that we’re innovative.

[00:04:39] Actually, no, it probably doesn’t. Speaking as someone who sat for many years on the receiving end as a customer of legal services, as well as on the practitioner side of it the one thing that we seem to forget is that our clients translate, oh, look, we’ve invested in this incredible file management system or e-billing system or X, Y, Z not as oh, wonderful I’m working with a really great law firm that’s going to get me the best results. But oh dear, that probably means that my fees are going up because I know I’m the sole source of income that you have. So how are you going to pay for all of this? So I think again, the client’s needs and how we project ourselves to the outside world is definite ly something that hasn’t been focused on enough.

[00:05:22] Chris: [00:05:22] Okay. You mentioned obviously a practi r of law because I think you studied law at Bristol university and then you worked as a competition. At a major London firm. And then I think you held some senior sort of legal positions for De Beers, the the diamond people. So can you pinpoint for me the moment you had as it were your epiphany about democratizing legal services? Where were you? I want to know!

[00:05:47] Merlie: [00:05:48] Where was I can tell you exactly where I was. I was working for a wonderful firm in the city, but I was pretty much seconded to support a music industry client at the time. An amazing time actually, to be involved with the music industry, because it was, I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was just on the cusp of change.

[00:06:08] And that change came in the form of Napster. And it was tech and it was tech for the first time doing something almost unthinkable with content as it happens, musical recordings rather than legal advice. But that’s what triggered it for me. We were very busy at the time arguing about how many tracks, one could put on a CD and justify a higher price in the UK versus France.

[00:06:31] And people were obsessed with this because of course as consumers, what were we doing? We were bootlegging the stuff we were going over to France, filling up the boot of the car, coming back and flogging the cheapest CD, same music, same artists. We’d loved it, but it was causing a major headache to the publishers at the time. Understandably, and the artists who were getting less money. So we were all talking about this. And meanwhile Napster came from nowhere and enabled us to do something with a piece of kit that had just never been done before. You, this is late nineties at that point, there was no social media. Amazon were still very portal like and very nascent itself. We didn’t have communities, we weren’t networking, WhatsApping, engaging. None of this. The only thing you could do with your mobile phone in those days was to call somebody or text, and we were still doing that kind of ABCD ever, or five seconds later, you’ve written hello. And to be able to do this kind of thing, stream music, listen to music, connect with each other not just across the road, but the other side of the world, people were uploading their own music, however great it was. And it just blew everything out of the water. And I had a slightly gin and tonic induced conversation. Of course, because everything seems possible. I shouldn’t say that or no a live recording, but yeah, so I had a slightly drunken conversation with one of the agents at the time in the music industry. And I said imagine if you could do this with law. And he thought that was terribly funny and told me not to be such an idiot, but it was that conversation that haunted me because it just hadn’t been done before, but why not? And over the years, I tried to choose roles in law and in business that gave me a better understanding of business from all sorts of angles, but also gave me an understanding of change in technology. And it really wasn’t until Deliveroo started building their platform. And watch them do that. And we were lucky enough. My husband particularly was lucky enough to support them in their very nascent days that I started getting obsessed with platforms and technology and social media by that point, of course had come in. I self-taught myself social media, it was frowned on in some of the roles I had, particularly as a lawyer, why would one put content out because that might not be accurate and who had checked it, et cetera. So instead of going in those days and say, this is not legal advice, just my opinion and I’m just conversing. But that was the route to it. And it became a complete obsession. So everything I chose to do after that point, Chris was with a real hunger to learn whether it could be done with my own profession. I’m super proud to, to still call myself a lawyer. I don’t practice anymore. But I’m hugely connected to brilliant lawyers across the UK. In fact, broader these days with Farillio. And I think one of the things there’s an almost stubborn unapologetic fierceness in my desire to plug that gap.

[00:09:31] So not to change lawyers, to actually make life easier for lawyers, but to plug that really vital gap where we’ve stripped out the jargon we’ve taken away the Mandarin, it is an element of self-serve empower learn as you do and do it fast. But just bridge that gap so that people who need advice and it’s not just legal advice with Farillio it’s any kind of business advice that we do these days, Law is that wonderful golden thread that weaves through it all, but anyone who needs it can come at it and find right starting information can start self-serving and then can find trusted people, but also brilliant experts can find really good clients too. And the aim of course, ultimately, is to cement really great relationships that exist far outside what we do but hopefully improve things for both lawyers and the people who need them.

[00:10:22] Chris: [00:10:22] Okay. I mean have you encountered any hostility from the legal profession to your to your model? I mean are you sort of checking under your car with a mirror every morning?

[00:10:30] Merlie: [00:10:30] Do you know what? No. Skepticism absolutely. A little bit of bad behavior even today with people who think they can do it themselves or do it better. There were a couple of people who were extremely rude in 2017when I first said, look I’ve I’ve kind of got this idea, we’ve done it before. We’ve done a sort of blueprint, which I had done in the insurance sector previously. So I have a bit of track record what do you think? But in the main actually people were very curious. I mean I think we were very fortunate. We’re backed by managing partners of law firms, big law firms who you know were curious about, could it be done and can I learn from it? So they were great people to have as investors in the early stages. We work with firms, one of whom particularly stands out. So the Wilkes partnership in Birmingham where one of their most senior partners, Gareth O’Hara who’s a super chap actually said, do you know what? I don’t want it to be anybody else that does this. I want to learn from this. I’ve read everything that Richard Suskind who’se are sort of you know big industry commentator; I’ve read everything he’s written about robots, replacing lawyers and the future of the profession, et cetera. And it worries me that we’re not as obsessed with it as I think we should be. And so there are plenty of really great people and that conversation was repeated from Cambridge to Bristol, to Edinburgh, where we worked with great law firms to and we’re across the country, but it was, we hand selected the people that we started with because we wanted curious hungry I think open-minded people who got the need to make a change, but who weren’t necessarily going to invest in digital themselves at that particular point in time, and it’s just grown from there. And now we have experts across the board from tax and financial planning to all manner of other wonderful things like career coaching, wellbeing, nutrition it’s actually a really nice environment to play in, but it’s populated as an ecosystem with like-minded people who are open to change and who feel the need to do it.

[00:12:32] And I think there’s still a proportion of the profession that don’t, see the need to improve the client experience or really go digital. Or when they think of tech and digital, it’s still improving the back office as opposed to yeah, the overall customer experience.

[00:12:47] Chris: [00:12:47] Okay. I mean you mentioned robots and artificial intelligence. I mean is Is this keeping people awake at night, do you think in professional services?

[00:12:56] Merlie: [00:12:56] I think it’s an interesting question. I don’t think it’s keeping people awake at night per se. Somebody did a fascinating study a while back where they went back and they looked at change from pre the industrial revolution to today with the sort of fourth revolution being that there’s the digital connected world. And they looked at the impact on the profession. And in every single case while immediate jobs within the profession were absolutely impacted. Probably the biggest time of change was when we all reverted to computers. And suddenly junior lawyers could do their own computing right? So you know we could all type our own stuff and we were liberated. Actually. It’s resulted in more jobs for the profession, just different types of jobs. So I think lawyers and law firms have evolved. And they’ve got to a position these days where yes, there is a degree of consternation about the robots coming to get us. But I think it’s more about the accuracy of the robots as opposed to general job fears.

[00:13:55] I think there will always be new types of a scenario that will require a different type of lawyer. And we’re seeing this again and again, with the rise of different niche sectors like cybersecurity and cyber law, for example, in data law which has taken off in the last 10 years particularly. But I think there is real concern about what the robots can do with the same degree of empathy, particularly as a human being. Understanding emotion, looking for subtle nuances, whether that’s in sort of litigation court proceedings, whether it’s in deal transactional proceedings, or it’s appreciating the subtleties of creativity when it comes to IP and patent applications and registrations, et cetera. So I think there is a concern about where you draw the line and where you will always need a human being or an element of human being versus a computer. But I think in the main, the industry has embraced the efficiencies that have come with algorithms and AI, as long as they have trust in it, lawyers are very suspicious. And probably rightly so on their client’s behalf. But as a breed, we are very cautious and very suspicious. But when convinced of something, actually we were quite fast adopters. I think the biggest challenge for law firms ultimately is we now have so much technology within firms that come from varying different providers that don’t really speak to each other that you know, it’s becoming a little bit unwieldy.

[00:15:17] Chris: [00:15:17] Sure. You’ve talked about sort of your experience in terms of educating in a way that profession and colleagues and things. I wondered actually, if you almost had to convince clients of your approach, cause it’s how innovative it is, have they, has there been some sort of pushback or resilience from them in terms of I don’t really understand your model. It sounds amazing. And how has it been done like this? Do you have to educate clients?

[00:15:40] Merlie: [00:15:40] Yes to a degree we do, but it’s usually, being I think what we didn’t do well enough when we first started out was demonstrate just how much we could do. And I think we clearly started within legal tech. We started as a it’s all about law. So there’s been a sort of gradual evolution that I think we’ve probably not shouted about enough to the outside world. Our model is quite interesting. So the bulk of our volume and our revenue come from distributing through great household names and really good enterprise partners who already have an established, trusted relationship with our customer base. So we quite often get bundled into their propositions, their accounts, their policies, their memberships, et cetera. So I think to the outside world, when you come at it, sometimes you don’t appreciate just how much you can do. That’s something we’ve definitely had to work more on to educate somebody who’s not coming at us through an existing household name. In fact, we’re just revamping our website at the moment to say to the majority of the populace at large, you know what? You probably have us already. So rather than signing up and paying, let’s build a journey, which says actually, do you have any of these things? Cause you’ve probably got it already because somebody who has vetted us and we go through pretty demanding procurement processes with enterprise customers. They’ve already proved that we’re trusted and that our experts are great and the content is great. So here you go. Don’t pay for it, actually just activate it and have it at your fingertips. But I think we didn’t we didn’t tell people clearly enough in the early stages, just how much they could do. So a lot of the feedback comes from the first time as on our live chat feed, or even occasionally on Trustpilot saying I had no idea I could do all of this, which is great. So it was a reminder to us perhaps to invest a little bit in sort of general marketing, as opposed to back at the scenes marketing, but yeah, I think from time to time, it’s generally not with our end users. I think for our end users it’s a matter of relief that they can actually do this stuff. With video guidance. We’re very YouTube. Yeah. He here’s a document or here’s a process or here’s a project that’s pre-populated with everything that you need and here’s the expert, narrating it through you on screen so you can follow along and do as you need to and press a button if you want to speak to the expert. And they can help you if you need to bespoke it even more than we enable you to do. I think that comes as great relief. I think where the pushback has come in the past has been from our enterprise customers who have never seen anything like this before. So it’s a little bit like how good is it? And can it really do all of this stuff? And having great testimonials, linking these guys up with our our end users and saying talk to them, don’t hear it from us. Talk, talk to them. We spend all our time with our customer community going. And if we did it like this, and if we added this and they’re fantastic because the great thing I think about customers is if you empower them to be completely honest, boy, are they honest? No, that’s a model. That’s rubbish. We don’t want that. But if it did this and of course that’s, then what we go on to test and build. So I think the skepticism has come less from the people who really need the service, but yeah. More from time to time from those who distribute it. Is it really that vital? Is it really that urgent? And the great news is we’ve got distributors doubling their their sales and their revenue with us at the moment to the point where having to go back and negotiate a couple of contracts at the moment because people are too successful. But that’s a nice problem to have.

[00:19:01] Chris: [00:19:01] It’s a good problem to have. What sort of legal services do you think are proving the most popular than amongst your clients right now?

[00:19:07] Merlie: [00:19:07] Oh well you know during a pandemic it sort of magnifies the things that people ordinarily want, but actually they were the same things. Just on speed. So it’s always people management from everyday things and we’re good for the everyday stuff. So I need to tell my boss I’m pregnant, or I need to. Have a conversation with an employee who’s just told me that they’re pregnant or they want flexible working, or they’ve got some strange virus that was a good one last year. All the way through to property related matters, particularly for small businesses relationships with landlords and tenants, always a big one. Cyber data. So cybersecurity is becoming an increasing sort of area of focus. And we’ve obviously got the legal and the business side of cyber. So lots of activity there, data protection, ongoing how do I market to people? Can I not just buy a database now, full of customer emails and names I can just pitch out to. That’s one, that’s still goes around as an old Chestnut.

[00:20:10] Chris: [00:20:10] I think I did that last week.

[00:20:11] And look, we want to communicate, and we all need to grow as businesses. We all need that sort of reach and it’s really tough to do. And that’s where GDPR can be both friend and foe, but the law is the law in that sense. I think. Complaints. We’re always seeing complaints, but particularly when you see sort of economic times of change and particularly when there’s a downturn than lots of complaints. Lots of debt issues. Like not having enough money to pay a supplier, for example, get dressed up as complaints. And so teaching people that if somebody is accusing you of faulty goods or poor services, is that genuine or have you checked their credit ratings? Have you checked what’s going on with them? Is it actually a disguised debt issue? So in that case, you may not want to go a long way down the line of saying no, my, my goods or my services were great. And I did everything that I should have done. Just check the financial position with your customer first. So there’s lots of those kinds of subtle nuances that go on.

[00:21:11] Merlie: [00:21:11] So complaints all the time. We obviously see much more about ratings and review complaints too. So they’ve given me an unfair rating or they’ve said something defamatory about me. And then you just your everyday trading terms and that never goes away. So I think we try really hard to rescue people before they get into trouble by writing blank checks, for example, on indemnity provisions, just raising that awareness of yeah the commercials are good, but don’t completely forget about the boiler plate. Cause it’s sometimes the boiler plate. So that sort of standard bog standard part of a contract where the nasties can be hidden and lots of people get caught out by that. They agree payment terms that just aren’t favorable so we try really hard to stop that, but that’s where the bulk of the activity goes on from day to day. We look very closely at the behavioral data on the platform all the time to check that we’re on the money and that we’re giving people exactly what they want. So we’re constantly shifting as our customer base shifts and the trends occur. But the live chat channel and the call centers and the helplines that we support across the UK are also phenomenal sources of what people are really talking about people to people. So the people tech kind of side of what we do. And we’ve always said we wouldn’t have a chat bot policing, our live chat. We won’t have all these sort of algorithms that don’t recognize that the actual real human need for conversation and to talk something through and to get reassurance. Firing up Microsoft and I say, there is a problem with my machine I know half the time I’m talking to a robot and it’s very standard speak. If you phone us up or you’re on live chat, where you’re speaking to the helplines or the call centers, it’s real people who are listening as much as they are helping. And none of our guys are incentivized to get business out of our callers, they’re incentivized on the basis that they do a really good, call, and they give a really good experience during that call. And I think that’s a really important difference. Nobody’s trying to use us as lead gen. They’re actually just trying to make sure that the customer really is happy, really is comforted and really does have what they need to go forward.

[00:23:16] Chris: [00:23:16] Okay. Do you feel that many of the many of the clients that you support startups, SMEs, do you think that they feel that the burden of regulation is perhaps in the UK is too great? It’s just a recent case. It was just the Uber judgment in the Supreme court. It was clear that drivers were considered workers and not self-employed. There does seem to be an issue around that doesn’t there do you think that there is too much regulation or your clients think there is too much?

[00:23:42] Merlie: [00:23:42] I think the problem is that regulation is constantly shifting, right? Because we’re constantly starting new types of businesses inventing new markets. If you think about Uber, Deliveroo, when these guys started, they were groundbreaking and they put together businesses that were very neat, very efficient, very smart and as consumers, they pretty much changed our world. And last year, I don’t know about you, but when you couldn’t get what you needed from the supermarket, my goodness, could you get what you wanted on Deliveroo. You run out of eggs, suddenly you can get eggs. So I think we’re great as a nation at bashing people later in the day and saying, oh wow these are bad people, but at the time they were making new markets. And I think we have layered on regulation in response to some of the things that have fallen out of that if you like, it’s the sort of unintended consequences of innovation and change. But in response to your broader question, I think there is so much regulation and it’s nigh on impossible to keep up with the changes in the law. Even the changes in trend because some of the time and I think the law gets a bad rep for so many reasons. Some of it is justified but some of it is not what the law says. It’s what consumer expectation has become. If you look at data protection law, the expectation now of every consumer is that you will have asked my express consent before you send anything to me. Otherwise you must be in breach of something. And actually that’s not true. But because consumers now expect that is the law, many businesses are having to say regardless of what the law says, this is what we have to do. And this is what we have to accept because otherwise we’ll damage customer trust in us.

[00:25:23] So I think that, and the press is part of that story, of course. But it really doesn’t help. And again, it’s one of the reasons why within Farillio, what we try really hard not to do is to give you single points, siloed pieces of information about one piece of regulation or one particular document or one development or court case.

[00:25:44] What we try and do is say, what’s the outcome? What do you want? Are you hiring? Are you trying to be cyber robust? You need to be tax efficient. Do you want to give yourself a quick health check on something? Things and we sew it all together. So actually what you’re not doing necessarily is getting one piece of legal content, guidance, advice, whatever it might be that you’re surfing for. You’re actually looking at it in a business context. So we take you right back to the wall. Can you afford what you want to do? What you’re looking at is there an affordability element? Is there a tax element? Is there a bit of planning or thinking that you might need to do long before you get into any of the regulation and sometimes just that initial groundwork removes the need to do anything that otherwise typically I think people might be doing on a legal front. Sometimes it just helps to define what you need and when you need it from a regulatory perspective, and then it’s a much more efficient process and you can be a lot more confident about doing it. But I think, again, what we fail to do and this is everybody across the board is just so everything up.

[00:26:47] So you’ve got lots of different experts sitting all over the place. And for business owners we start businesses, we run businesses with a particular objective, which is to sell great things. And I think we’ve got far too many, highly talented business owners, business managers, senior employees doing admin and tying themselves in knots versus doing what they’re best capable of doing, which is going out there, creating, innovating, conversing with people, winning hearts and minds, et cetera.

[00:27:15] And that is a problem. With the amount of regulation that we have. So if we can strip a lot of that away and say use the kind of master checklist, for example, that Farillio has go through that tune down the anxiety, think a bit less because it’s all here for you and go through this sort of trusted methodology. Then actually we can strip a lot of that away and prevent people from dropping the ball.

[00:27:36] Chris: [00:27:36] I think tech also suffers a little bit from reputational of a sort of a bro culture cause you look at Uber and WeWork and people behave rather badly in the past and that sort of there’s a lack of an adult in the room in some cases. Do you think that’s endemic in tech startups or is that rather unfair?

[00:27:56] Merlie: [00:27:56] I don’t think it’s necessarily endemic, but I think it is driven a lot by circumstance, Chris. I think part of the challenge is when venture capital and private equity gets involved, and I’m not saying these guys are bad people, my goodness do we need them to be able to invest in innovation and make it happen. But I think what happens is you suddenly get these very aggressive deadlines expectations, very aggressive, transactional, corporate speak that starts pervading startups and many startups, regardless of the age of the people who found it again, you’ve got people who are creative, they have a vision they’re very capable, but they’re suddenly developing a whole load of skillset sometimes not even realising sometimes not properly developing them, but they’re not equipped. Nobody’s trained somebody to be an HR manager. Nobody is trained somebody to be sensible about tax and fiscal responsibility. So unless you’ve come from that kind of background, you’re learning all of this for the first time under an environment of extreme pressure, you’ve just got to sell. You’ve just got to prove it works. You’ve just got to get to market and the stress levels that these businesses and particularly those managing those businesses feel is extraordinary. So I think there is an element of real pressure. There’s an element of being out of your comfort zone out of your depth and not necessarily trained in a way that is helpful. But I think there is also just that kind of general human stress. And we all behave badly when we’re massively under stress and we can’t sleep at night and we may maybe not eating properly. And I think all of that contributes to the sort of accusations of where’s the adult in the room. I think there’s a variety of things doing that. Having said that I do think culture is something that startups, and it’s not just tech startups, but definitely they have a bad rap for this.

[00:29:45] Culture is something that we have to invest in better. And I think you’re seeing that tide of change. Now, we the sort of whole ESG acronyms that of being much more environmentally, socially obviously regulatory compliant as well. With G of the governance bit is really on the rise. So there are a lot more investors now who will say, I won’t invest in you unless you hit certain criteria.

[00:30:10] Chris: [00:30:10] so they’re looking under the bonnet more, do you think?

[00:30:12]Merlie: [00:30:12] Much more, and it’s driving change, even if you’re not necessarily at the stage where you want to go for big investment people know they have to put those foundational blocks in play now to get it right.

[00:30:23] Glass door, places like that, where it’s actually very easy to go and look at. What’s being said about a business is definitely coming to the fore too. So people are going and doing much more due diligence on startups, and it’s not just the investors. It’s also the customers. If you want to sell to an enterprise customer these days, you’ve got to prove that you’ve not got a toxic culture and that people are really engaged and happy.

[00:30:47] And frankly, the competition for talent has never been as fierce as it is today. So you want really good people working in your business and let’s make no beef about it. If you don’t have good people working in your business, you will not succeed because people make that magic happen. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you haven’t got the people it will not work. And it’s the HR element now that is also calling these businesses to account and saying, I won’t work for business, that doesn’t have a clear mission and a purpose and treat its people well.

[00:31:16]Chris: [00:31:16] Okay. No, that’s very interesting. And lastly hybrid working is some people saying that we’re all gonna get back to the office other people saying we’re not going get back to the office. Some people staying at home, some people doing a bit of a mixture. What’s your take on all of this? What do you think we’re going to do? If you’re looking in your crystal ball

[00:31:31] Merlie: [00:31:31] The crystal ball? Do you know, I’m fascinated by this, Chris? I don’t know. I think many of us are dying to get back to an office environment because we miss the kind of the camaraderie and the ritual and the routine of it. And I think the clear difference between living at home and working somewhere else. So I think the home has become far less of a sanctuary because

[00:31:55] But I also think one of the as a society and culturally, one of the things that we have been barreling unhealthily towards in the last decade, particularly is this sense of being always on your device, always there. And that’s an expectation, right? You’re good if that’s what you do.

[00:32:15] And I think this ability to homework was a bit of a reset. What we’re seeing a lot of people say as well, I do want to go back to the office, but I don’t want to be there all the time. I want to be able to time box the way I work better so that when I’m working from home, actually it’s concentrated working.

[00:32:32] I can properly focus and be more efficient, but also feel more fulfilled. There’s nothing worse than a heavily interrupted day when everything feels like

[00:32:42] it’s.

[00:32:43] I totally agree. I totally agree. So I think what you’ll see is more of this hybrid where people are not five days a week in the office, but they are some sometimes in the office sometimes at home.

[00:32:53] And I’m hoping that from a wellbeing point of view and also a time management point of view, it means that we get. A little bit more quality time to ourselves away from the workplace. And I don’t think it matters. What job you do. We all need that,

[00:33:07] Chris: [00:33:07] which I think will help with culture generally with, yeah.

[00:33:10] Okay. That’s been brilliant now, Marie, how do people get hold of you and Farillio if they want to

[00:33:16] Merlie: [00:33:16] Multiple different ways. But you can obviously come to the site which is barrel dot I O F a R I double l.io. So Farillio. You can reach out on live chat for that. Of course you can get me on LinkedIn.

[00:33:30] You can get me on Twitter, where I live a lot of my life as does Farillio, but I live separately too, to all of that. So any which way is absolutely fine. I love a good conversation. As Chris,

[00:33:42] Chris: [00:33:42] Merlie Calvert been brilliant. Thanks very much for your time.

[00:33:45] Merlie: [00:33:45] A pleasure. Thank you for having me.

[00:33:46]

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