A moment of reflection

At a time when some countries are re-enforcing lockdown measures and our usual annual meet-ups would have been taking place, Virginie O’Shea, founder of Firebrand Research, reminds us to reach out to each other, both professionally and personally.

As we head into the second wave of the coronavirus in the UK and the people that can begin to work from home again will be, this time during the darkest months of the year, I’m reminded of how much we should be checking in regularly with friends and colleagues. This is not limited to the UK. Similar lockdowns are happening across the globe and daily life continues to be challenging. Though I usually blog about things related to FinTech or FinReg and my frustration with how slow the industry is at adapting, this time I feel like talking about something we can all do to make things just a little better for everyone else.

This year has proved incredibly stressful for most (if not all) people across the globe – we’ve had to worry about the health and safety of ourselves, our friends and our loved ones on a daily basis. Many are regularly suffering from insomnia – I count myself among them – and work can feel like an uphill struggle as you walk over to your desk/home office every day. Usually around this time of year in London, people are drowning their sorrows about the impending winter by catching up with friends down the pub or going out for meals to catch up. This year, those activities are much more stressful and limited.

Next week, Sibos is happening virtually for the first time. Now I don’t know about you, but Sibos has always been an event where I catch up with friends and clients from across the globe that I haven’t seen in person all year. This year, even though there’ll be some networking opportunities, it’ll be a far cry from what we’re all used to. No casual chats in the queue for coffee at the HSBC stand, no random meet-ups at parties in the evening.

I spend a lot of my time talking to people around the globe for my research and nearly everyone has mentioned that 2020 has been challenging for them in some way. It hasn’t all been bad, but it has made us all more aware of our own vulnerability and it has left a lot of people feeling pretty isolated.

Now more than ever as the Northern Hemisphere heads into shorter days – especially short if you’re based in the far north like the Nordics – it is important that we schedule time to check in with each other. I’m sure many of you are doing this already, but a gentle reminder never hurts. A quick call with a friend, a client, a colleague can cheer up someone’s day – even if we’re busy, it’ll make you feel better too. I promise!

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