Our thinking Quick reads Working from home – 10 (more) takeaways
Fundraising, investor relations and marketing
July 2020
4 min read

Working from home – 10 (more) takeaways

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Fed up with working from home, yet? Wondering if others feel the same? As an extension of our research into the work-life balance of professionals in the private markets industry, our team has been hard at work, surveying a whopping 379 people just like you (well, as you will see, some may be more like you than others!), to find out how working from home has impacted their career, communications, health and lifestyle.

I’m delighted to announce that the findings of the research are available now, and can be downloaded, here. As a special bonus, at the end of the report you will find a link to download some bespoke iMessenger and WhatsApp stickers, to help you better express how you are feeling during lockdown and the gradual return to the office.

In line with MJ Hudson’s 10-year anniversary, here are 10 key takeaways: five lessons we have learned from working from home in the private markets industry and five predictions for life in the (near) future.

First, five key things we have learnt about working from home in the private markets industry:

1. Working from home is not necessarily impacting our ability to communicate externally or with colleagues.

71% of respondents feel they are able to continue to communicate effectively, no doubt due largely to the explosion in the use of video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Teams. However, 29% are having problems…

2. Amazingly, some of us are missing the office.

Nearly two thirds of respondents said that they miss working in the office. Specifically, however, we are missing direct interaction with colleagues. When asked why they miss the office, 82% of people said that it was their colleagues that they missed the most, feeling that video conferencing just isn’t the same.

3. But no one is missing the commute

When asked what the key benefits of working from were, not having to commute was the clear winner, with over three quarters of respondents mentioning it. Similarly, out of those who said that they don’t miss the office, over 60% said that they least miss having to commute in.

4. Home offices have some way to go

Most private market professionals are working from less than ideal workspaces. As a result of lockdown, more than half of our survey participants had to improvise their desks and have ended up with a workspace which makes compromises where it shouldn’t. 54% of people mentioned that they are working from smaller or fewer screens than what they usually would have, and nearly half are enduring uncomfortable chairs.

5. Spending time with your kids is not all bad.

58% of respondents said that working from home has benefited their relationships with their family members, presumably as a consequence of being able to spend more time with them. Only 10% reported that it has negatively impacted such relationships.

And our five predictions for the “new normal” working conditions in private markets:

1. Working from home is here to stay.

We expect to see more professionals working from home, more frequently, even after offices have begun to open back up.

2. Private markets professionals are now Zoomers, not Boomers.

Video conferencing as a key communication tool for our industry is here to stay. We think that more meetings will now be video conferences, saving time and money for all involved, not to speak of the positive ESG impact.

3. Face to face meetings won’t disappear but will have more value.

As a corollary of #2, we expect there will be fewer face to face meetings, in the future. But those that do happen will be newly cherished. There will be a higher bar for calling a physical meeting and more active engagement in those that do take place. Well, that is the hope…

4. Prime city centre office real estate is in for a rough ride.

If more of us are going to continue to work from home in the future, will private markets firms need such large offices in central London and other key cities? We expect to see firms cancelling office expansion plans and even downsizing.

5. Several ‘Virtual GPs’ will emerge in the next 12 months.

As an extension of the office real estate contraction, we expect to see a number of new managers emerge that have an entirely remote or virtual model with no centralised office space.

As less business is conducted face-to-face, in person, we also think your website and associated online presence, as well as your outbound communications will become yet more important to the success of your firm. Let us know if you would like to speak to us about any of the services we can provide in these areas.

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