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Week 21: The return of the office

Back in the swing of things this week after a brief break. Caught up with quite a few people together with, of course, a large email inbox. So have been in a reflective mood… the thought for the week… the return of the office

Many of us have really enjoyed working from home. Not commuting has given us extra time in the day and many people are finding themselves more productive.

I for one have enjoyed benefits. I have found it more productive and much easier to catch up with many more people, indeed all over the world. I have even been able to get some exercise in. (Not to mention running the car for 20 weeks of one tank of fuel).

However, after 20 weeks, a lack of direct social interaction is finally starting to wear thin… maybe it is just the realization of being stuck in the same room every day, having tasted a little freedom on holiday… it could be time to sneak another Starbucks!

Have a good week everyone… @chris_w_tweet

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End of lockdown support measures?: Weekly roundup 7 August 2020

This week it felt like the wheels were turning to end many of the support measures in place during lockdown.

The FCA had a consultation paper out on whether the payment deferral period and measures should be extended. There is definitely some pressure to not have this extended.

Afterall with 1.8m customers on mortgage payment holidays and 60% rolling over, this would just kick many issues further down the road. However, there is also precedent elsewhere that this may not be as simple as just removing support. In Australia this was extended for a further 4 months, and interestingly in Canada is also backlash on interest charges…. I suspect the discussion is far from over here and we will likely see more developments in the UK too.

There was also positioning in the media on the ending of the Furlough scheme too. This is quite likely in my view (primarily because of the huge cost of the scheme), however, with this, it will crystalize much of the economic impact across the country… which is the concern.

Both of these are very much a double whammy… starting to flow through in the Autumn. Although the economic impact from COVID is likely to be less than feared, unemployment is still likely to surge as a result… we need to be prepared.

And the wild card here is still the virus itself. With increasing rates in many countries around the world again, we could start to see enforced mass re-lockdowns (Melbourne is an example, and regional restrictions in more other places like Preston and Aberdeen in the UK). All of this could happen again, but without all the previous support measures… potentially quite different dynamics on the economy.

Lastly, a couple of other interesting news items from the week.

Have a good weekend everyone… looks like a scorcher…@chris_w_tweet

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Week 20: End of Staycation

The weather held, which really has been great news for all of us taking staycations… even when WFH, with the shorter commute, it has been easier to make more of the weather, which has been a real advantage too… observations for this week.

  • With getting out for holidays, I finally made it to a Starbucks… a very strange social distanced experience… literally no one there… felt more like a wild west film than the M6 services… (coffee the same… although still not made it to Prêt a Manager!)
  • I realized my main obstacle to wearing a mask had been my fear of looking silly… once got over myself was really no problem and of course, it is important we do
  • Workwise, with more localized lockdown restrictions, have been thinking about how the ongoing impact will become increasingly complicated. Some people and businesses will be affected, others not… with all the permutations in-between. Flexibility is going to become more important

With another week about to start, have a good one everybody… @chris_w_tweet

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