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Owen on the support that drives him

Owen on the support that drives him 

Introducing the seventh blog of our I Belong series; giving you a peak into Admiral, meeting our fascinating and inspiring colleagues from around the Group and giving insight into our friendly, diverse and inclusive workplace culture. This International Day of Disabled Persons, we’re celebrating all the brilliant people who work for us, meet Owen…

Hi, I’m Owen and I’ve been part of Admiral Law since January 2015. My personal hobbies include paddle boarding, travelling, and walking my dogs. 

My role as an Administration Assistant is really varied and consists of processing and handling data, distributing and sorting through post, and assisting others with a whole host of different issues and problems (fixing printers being a common one!). 

At the time I was looking for an employer, I had two job offers come through together; one from Admiral Law and the other from another company who I’d heard mixed reviews about – hence why I accepted Admiral’s job offer and I’m pleased that I did, it was the best decision I’ve made! 

My favourite thing so far has been the team/family-centric nature that exists. From fun activities, team afternoons out to Christmas meals and secret Santa, I love being with a crowd of people who have become my working family, whether in person or virtually.  

There are no judgements, you can be yourself 

Admiral looks after its colleagues with various perks, mental health support and counselling (having a discount on my car insurance is greatly appreciated too!). But for me the biggest perk has been the support I receive from my managers and team.  

They’ve been really great, very inclusive and accepted my condition (Asperger’s Syndrome) from the beginning. They’ve shown so much understanding and support and have provided me with everything I need to help me work as effectively as I can. As it’s such a family orientated place to be, everyone is so understanding – there are no judgements, you can be yourself.  

As part of Admiral’s continuous development and investment in me, my manager recently put me in touch with a charity in Cardiff who specialise in helping people with autism in a workplace setting (Autism Spectrum Connections Cymru), which has been incredibly useful. They’ve helped me create some training material in order to pick up some new tasks the team has been allocated. 

The pandemic and working at Admiral  

The past year or so has been difficult for everyone, especially for those who are neuro diverse. Some may think that people on the autistic spectrum would prefer the isolation; I actually found it more difficult and struggled to adapt not being in the social environment I was used to. Upon joining Admiral, I was quite introverted, but working here over the years has really helped me to come out of my shell – I’ve even won two awards for my helpful nature.  

When we migrated to an online world, I initially struggled joining in on conversations, which led to feelings of loneliness. Talking to people over screen is difficult; you can’t read their body language and I didn’t ever wish to interrupt, so I found myself really struggling to engage. In person, you can gauge when someone is about to finish saying something, it’s more difficult to do this over Teams.  

Speaking to people has helped, sometimes you just need that bit of reassurance. I definitely think the pandemic and lockdowns have skewed a lot of my framework which I rely on day to day. I find that trying to keep to a routine when working from home has helped to keep my mind active as well as creating a slight sense of normality.  

Ultimately, it is something that I’ve managed to adjust to personally with support from my managers although it has taken me quite a few months to make this adjustment. Having team meetings twice works really well for me along with meeting with my team every so often where restrictions allow. It also helps that I know my manager is there, at the other end of the phone, should I need to talk.  

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