With Easter well behind us I am back at my desk in my flat in Tower Bridge with the sunshine streaming in the window. We are now at the beginning of our 5th week of ‘lock-down’ measures with a further 3 weeks set to come, at least. It hardly seems possible that a little over a month ago I had just returned from our office in the United States and was sitting at my desk in the Alphabeta building with no real foresight of what was ahead of us.
In our business we know a lot about managing effective change, but the velocity and breadth of this crisis has forced every business and every individual, including myself, to adapt overnight to a very strange and only just emerging ‘new normal’. One thing is for certain, it makes you appreciate both your personal and professional life. I am incredibly grateful that I work for a company that has been able to adapt so quickly with such a strong and resilient work force across the world.
Barring 3 or 4 critical operational staff onsite, our UK office has all been working from home. This is no small feat for a business that is built around providing operational outsourcing and I am really proud that we have been able to protect our staff whilst also maintaining an effective service for our clients.
Each Thursday I join the rest of my street in clapping for our front line workers in the NHS and elsewhere. I appreciate this event each week and the unique sense of humility and community it provides. I believe that this crisis has led us all to consider the jobs that are critically important in our society, many of which we may have previously taken for granted. These key workers are the true heroes, deserving our utmost respect and admiration, but it has also caused me to reflect on the ‘key workers’ in our own business.
The SEI Wealth PlatformSM provides end-to-end operational outsourcing, which means that our operational staff, ranging from those processing data to those in client service, are critical to maintaining our business and the business of our wealth management clients. If you had told me that we could literally pick up our operational teams and move them to working from home over-night I honestly may not have believed you. However, this is exactly what we have done and I have been deeply impressed by the resilience of our staff in operations and those that support these teams as they continue to work and deliver the processes we rely on from their home offices, spare bedrooms or kitchen tables. I want to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone on the SEI team. I knew we had a strong team but this is even more evident under pressure and I know our clients appreciate the personal lengths our staff have gone to, to ensure we continue to deliver.
Amidst the human tragedy of COVID-19, playing out in front of us, I do feel that there will be positives that arise from this experience, not least of which is the sense of community that has been built not only in our streets but within our work force too. I believe that the humility we feel when we clap for our carers each week will be lasting. I hope that we will all look at key workers in all walks of life in a different way appreciating their role in keeping us safe as a society and keeping our businesses running effectively.
The opinions and views in this commentary are of SEI only and are subject to change.
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