Fake commutes and twinkies

A few things caught my eye this week as we all wrestled with the fact that it is looking like lockdown will continue and we enter a second wave.

First, was the changing nature of work, and how it seems we are moving towards a more blended style of working.
A few days at home, a few in the office, seems increasingly common, with some people opting for long commutes from the countryside rather than permanent city centre living…. with rental prices declining in major cities… everything is linked.

When working from home, our typical commute time has been dramatically reduced… from about an hour to 5mins… if you really walk slowly!
This of course gives more time for work, however as the pandemic has lengthened so has the realisation that this time that can be grabbed back. Hence the rise of the fake commute…. a time to mentally change gears, separate home and work life and not to mention maybe get in a bit of exercise…. an interesting trend.

Elsewhere, story of challenges in the fintech sector continue. This week it was the turn of P2P lending, with customers struggling to withdraw invested money.
Investing in loans does of course have common complications in terms of waiting for end of term or replacement investors for money to be released… I suppose this is the advantage large banks and banking in general has… these are getting highlighted in times like these it feels.

An finally, my favourite story of the week, is about the indestructible twinkie, and how its gradual decomposition was new to science… I knew there was a reason I left them somewhere!

Have a good weekend eveyone…@chris_w_tweet

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Good morning – Mr Grumpy

It was all Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, in the news here this week and lockdown restrictions are all starting to get a little confusing, to be honest. This being said with cases and hospital admissions now increasing, we do all need to take care …. observations for this week.

  • With new restrictions being discussed, I have been suffering from lockdown fatigue… it is not just the length of lockdown or missing summer holidays, but now the little events… birthday parties, bonfire night or halloween… I realise how much these can help to keep me cheery and they are now not there… still mince pies are in the shops… so I suppose that is something…!
  • This week I also really noticed how I am getting up in the dark again… mainly because it was just so hard to get up… hopefully, I get used to it soon as is making for a bleary-eyed, start to the day… a sure sign of Autumn
  • Workwise, everyone I have been speaking with is reporting increasing work volumes. We are all heads down, in preparation for the next few months and future it feels…

Stay safe everyone…have a good week… @chris_w_tweet

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Back to online at home working

After the flurry of big announcments last week, this week felt quiet in comparison.

All eyes are now back on lockdown… with increased COVID cases, the new Tier 2/3 areas rolling out across England, together with enhanced restrictions in Wales, NI and Scotland too.. the focus was on what this means for business and what can be done to help.

-> Covid-19: UK workers to get 67% of pay if firms told to shut

In financial services, the split between the desire for loans and funding, from customers, however restraint from the banks continues. You wonder how much the gap will be picked up by the alternative lending sector and fin tech if this continues.

-> Mortgage applications soar after coronavirus lockdown lifted
-> Banks use housing mini-boom to raise price of mortgages

Generally there is a sense that the economy is picking up… not exactly returning to normal, more that we have to carry on as we cannot put everything on hold forever.

There is also a migration away from Credit to Debit card which is also interesting… Some segments of the population have used this event as an opportunity to save and re-orientate their financials… other I suspect have not (or cannot)… we will see this flow through over time.

-> Debit card spending hits record high in July
-> BOA: Consumer Spending Up, Delinquencies Down

In wider economic news, BoE is still discussing negative rates. This has been long trailed for reaction and just wonder if this may happen.

-> Bank of England questions banks over negative rates

We are all working from home more, and again with re-lockdown, some concern on the mental helath aspects of this. I suspect it is the always ‘at home’ piece that is making many of us grumpy as much as the ‘working from’ element… although it is a new balance for many people for sure.

-> Four in 10 office workers fear the effect of working from home on mental health

Lastly, we are at home and have all been heavily reliant on the internet in particular for communication. This has surged (as is amazing how well the infrastructure held up – well done to the telco engineers) and the impacts can now be seen in recent statistics.

-> UK’s internet use surges to record levels
-> UK talks for longer during lockdown
-> Canadians spend more money and time online during pandemic and over two-fifths report a cyber incident

Have a good weekend everyone… @chris_w_tweet

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