My daily routine now consists of
Up at 5:30am with the children, and then in front of the laptop with a strong coffee by 7:00am. Working from home has it’s unique challenges, (3 children, a dog and a cat, make sure of that)!! However, it is much similar to within the office, communicating with the team, supporting our Specialist Advisers and Case Managers wherever possible, whilst keeping on top of the myriad of daily changes in respect of lenders COVID criteria and LTVs, and ensuring that all of our team are fully up to date in respect of which lenders are facilitating desktop/AVM models to enable our advisers to provide our clients with access to immediate funding. Matt and myself will generally discuss overall strategy, marketing, and brand direction, on a daily basis. I will walk away from the laptop between 19:00 and 20:00, before spending the evening relaxing with my wife and reading.
Best film/TV programme watched or best book read during lockdown?
I do not actually watch films/TV, (although by default I must have watched ‘Frozen 2’ close to 20 times)!! I have read 4 books during lockdown (‘Alone’ by Brett Archibald, ‘A Greif Observed’ by C. S. Lewis, ‘Behind the Mask’ by Tyson Fury and ‘No one is too small to make a difference’ by Greta Thunberg), although due to the varied genres, it would be difficult to determine which is the ‘best’. I am currently reading ‘Lifespan’ by David Sinclair, ‘Gambling for Life’ by Harry Findlay and ‘Desert Solitaire’ by Edward Abbey.
Have you contacted people you have not spoken to for a long time?
Not really as much as I should!! I have checked in with friends and family, making sure that they are coping, during what are challenging times for all of us (it is important to remain balanced, and not to just become disoriented within our own struggles). Commercially, especially within our specialist sphere, I have been sharing conversations much more regularly. For the most part the mortgage community has displayed a resilience and spirit that we should all be proud of, sharing ideas, problems and solutions. I have enjoyed the weekly conversations with our peers, both with our industry leaders and with our friends and colleagues at the various lenders and the perceptible desire to support each other has been wonderful. Indeed, our key industry relationships have been invaluable in such difficult times.
What do you miss the most?
The culture and atmosphere of the office. Despite the myriad of positives that working from home can bring, specialising within complex buy to let, I still feel that most individuals work optimally surrounded by the support network within our office. It is impossible not to miss the galvanising energy that our charismatic and dynamic group whip up every day. Our team have reacted incredibly to these challenging times, pulling together boasting relentless hunger and desire, and we are incredibly lucky, but it is immensely difficult to recreate the office culture whilst the team remain isolated within their own individual home offices!!
What top lockdown tip can you share with others?
We need to try to take advantage of being at home, surrounded by family. Albeit a small positive within such tragic times, however through the clarity of hindsight we may look back at this time as a missed opportunity. Attaining a balance and/or harmony between our commercial lives and our families has always remained one of the most challenging aspects for most entrepreneurs (and personally, despite striving, this remains one of my most prominent flaws). Also stay healthy both in respect of mind and body. Use additional time (i.e. the time that you would normally spend travelling to and from the office) to push yourself. Workout, with regular walks or home exercise if you have the facilities and learn something new. Read, read and read!! Most people may not have a home library, but the internet is the most important learning tool of our generation (just keep away from social media, which tends to have the opposite effect)!! The more erudite we become, the stronger an asset you will be to your company/employer; you will become more aware socially, enabling you to execute better decisions and just become more engaging as a person. Indeed, I have always found reading and self-education full of serendipitous surprise and opportunity.