2020 what a very unusual year. I am confident it will be a year that none of us will ever forget. I started the year in a new job, with a new company and excited by the prospect of building out our Risk & Catastrophe offering at Arthur. I also knew that my wife had planned several exciting trips to celebrate me turning 40 years young. Was I worried about that, yes, as it transpires, this was to be the least of my worries!
Q1 budgets set, team shaped, the insurance market busier than I can remember, all was progressing nicely. Early January with news coming out of China, a virus was circling, many thought that this would not reach European shores. I and a lot of others were brushing this aside with the message of we are BAU, concentrate on what we can impact.
March 17th the message was delivered by our CEO Daniel Faulkner and leadership team, the office would close, and we could all now be working from home for the foreseeable future. I have to say the speed to set up and be operational is a credit to the management and back office team at Arthur. The very next day excited by our first company MS Teams call, little did we know this would now be the ‘new normal’.
Fast forward 130+ days and we are still here and my 40th birthday has been and gone. The excitement of Teams/Zoom calls has passed, quiz events have been exhausted and we are all now looking at ways to ensure team engagement is maintained.
2020 has seen so many major catastrophic and unusual events, that not only have affected the economy, people’s wellbeing but the world as we know it. Large wildfires in Australia, Royals leaving office, President Trump being impeached, Covid-19 causing deaths as early as January. Plane crashes and of course Kobe Bryant and his daughter were tragically taken far too early. Brexit finally kind of happened, President Trump was acquitted, Covid-19 continues to rip through the world, stock markets see huge drops, some of the worst seen since 1987. Large protests relating to political and racial equality (BLM), Olympics, and major sporting events cancelled, borders closed, and lockdowns enforced across the world, something most of us have never seen, and may not see again.
As a recruiter, I like routine and structure and perhaps being in control of personal choices. However, this was all being taken away and it felt strange for a short while, leaving a lot of us unsure how to adapt.
Working from home used to be a perk but now it is the norm with challenges for many such as caring responsibilities, being with your family 24/7, home schooling (albeit a ‘not liked’ teacher), keeping the kids entertained and fed (wow they eat a lot), making sure the Xbox is updated especially outside working hours so my wife and I could work efficiently.
Thankfully, we were able to create structure quickly, for both adults and children. I do not think we truly understand the impact this has had on the children, going from 7-8 hours a day away from parents, burning energy, building relationships in school and learning about life. I’m sure it has impacted them, only time will tell.
Remote management is now the new norm, most of us perhaps have never done this before and a new set of skills are being developed. It is amazing how quickly we adapt, how resilient we are but our best trait is how collegial we have become not just here at Arthur, but across the UK and world.
The Thursday night clap for the NHS saw new relationships formed with neighbours we had never seen or met before, as a nation we dig in and always come out fighting and smiling.
We at Arthur are lucky to be focusing on the insurance market which has once again has proved resilient, it continues to shock me. Companies have continued to hire, they have quickly adapted to the new normal, management have steered businesses through circumstances that they have never experienced before and hopefully never will again. We are still here looking forward to returning to a new BAU whatever that may look like in the future. Unfortunately, there has been several casualties, lives lost, with many businesses suffering.
I personally, have learnt a lot during this period. I have been fortunate to spend quality time with my family, invested in my own personal wellbeing, my team and colleagues at Arthur have been phenomenal, adapting and performing above expectations.
I look forward to meeting colleagues, clients and candidates in the near future, when safe to do so, over a coffee or drink to discuss further how we have coped and admire the positive stories that are out there.
I would like to thank those old and new partners to Arthur, we look forward to partnering with you as we support your growth /rebuild plans.
At Arthur we pride ourselves on being connected to the market to the best of our ability as proven suppliers of talent. Many of our clients are seeking growth opportunities and have partnered with Arthur to support these plans, we are also working with some exceptional talent seeking their next role.
As always, I’m happy to chat on many platforms, phone, video call etc for now should you wish to share your thoughts, discuss the market or if you are looking to hire/move.
By Antony Williams
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