The COVID Diaries: Syndicate 4
The following interview is with an Australian-based fixed-income syndicate banker. It was conducted on 1 May 2020.
Does your business have a timeline for returning to office working – and are you looking forward to it?
Working from home is slightly more challenging from a functioning perspective as well. Work life will be easier and streamlined once we head back to the office. That said, technology has come a long way and it is easier to connect with everyone – if this crisis were to have happened even five years ago it would have been a lot more challenging.
Has your view of the crisis and the nature of the challenges it presents changed? It seems Australia has prioritised public health over the economy, at least in the medium term. How are you thinking about that trade off?
We are fortunate that we are an island nation that already had strict border controls. The government was quick to close a lot of things down that have gone a long way in flattening our curve. The results we are seeing now are putting us in the position of transitioning out of lockdown quicker than other nations.
“Technology has come a long way and it is easier to connect with everyone – if this crisis were to have happened even five years ago it would have been a lot more challenging.”
Are you more or less optimistic about the crisis than you were during the early acceleration period of moving to home working and adding social distancing measures?
With Australia, it doesn’t look like there is going to be too much international travel. That puts the onus on people here to continue to do the right thing, to follow guidelines and restrictions. We need to follow them to the extent we can to limit the effect of the second wave rather than going back to normal life, only for us to go back straight into lockdown.
How do you think things will be different when we get back to normal? What changes can you see to work practices, social changes and the economy?
It is going to be a big development for a lot of industries although admittedly less so for those of us working in banks.
Socially, people are going to be sensitive to large crowds and confined spaces. As the crisis is fresh in everyone’s mind, it is something people will be very conscious of. Over time that will probably reduce slightly but I don’t think you will see people standing on top of each other at shopping centres and events anytime soon.
We have been asking people what they have been reading relating to the crisis but we think everyone has seen enough by this stage. So what are your entertainment recommendations for lockdown: books, TV etc?
When I first started working from home I had the news on all day. I was following every update and I eventually got sick of it. Now I am just looking at the numbers and headlines, as well as the announcements from the federal and state government.
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