For many French, the containment has been synonymous with a new life of office… at home. Teleworking is becoming the norm, and the presence in the company, the exception ? The time crowded public transport, the small coffee between colleagues, informal discussions in the corridors and meetings “face-to-face” would it be gone forever ? The Point gives the word to employees that tell the upheaval caused by the confinement and their new life in the office.

” I work in London as a vendor and within the activity of an investment bank in the City. I took care of the credit market, including debt high yield bond, such as junk bonds (“junk bonds”), and bank loans in LBO (leveraged buy-out or repurchase with leverage). It brings in liquidity and investment opportunities. Our clients are institutional. Pension funds, insurers, hedge funds, etc

In march, the next day, the market was euphoric, has become cataclysmic. There were movements of panic. This crisis had nothing to do with Lehman Brothers, which was a credit crunch, a credit crunch. This was a new experience. Many operators wanted to sell. But there were no buyers. There has been a downward spiral that has fuelled the fear. The credit market has experienced air pockets, air pockets, as say the English. At work, there has been a lot of stress in march and April and part of may. He had to be present to the clients. As an intermediary, the bank found itself very vulnerable. The management has put us in a huge pressure not to miss the boat, and redouble our efforts.

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I did lots of video with my butcher or at the supermarket

I was working twelve hours non-stop, from 7 o’clock in the morning to 19 hours. I had to hurry to go to the toilet or prepare myself a coffee. In the evening, I turned on my computer to read work documents. My wife, who also works in a bank, was not at home, because she had to manage the office of a crisis against the Covid-19. Sometimes, she did not return until 22 hours.

as a parent who telecommutes, I had to make myself available and to manage the stewardship. If I had forgotten to buy milk and my kids wanted a bowl of cereal, I went back to the supermarket. I was sometimes 45 minutes of the tail, and was working with my 2 iPhone in the hands. I did lots of video with my headphones Airpod in my butcher or pushing my trolley in a supermarket.

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The United Kingdom has confined the Monday, march 23, a few days after France. The british government has poorly managed this period. Prime minister Boris Johnson has been sick. Therefore absent. His government was in free wheel. It was a real jamboree.

within my bank, the introduction of teleworking was carried out in two time. It was first deserted our headquarters in Canary Wharf, the business district on the edge of the river Thames which are installed in most banks. In the perspective of an attack, which would have blocked our headquarters in the City, the bank had equipped alternative venues outside of London, known as business continuity centers. Just prior to the containment, the staff went into those buildings. But they had not been designed for an epidemic. It was necessary to take public transport to get there and we were side-by-side between colleagues.

One day I saw a colleague with a huge beard trapper

For the first time, investment banks were required to think about their market activities outside of the walls, as the trading or selling as the support functions. That had never happened before the Covid-19. This has forced the management to think differently, leaving out of its preconceived ideas about the organization of work. Then, the transition to telework has been fast and efficient. Each staff member has received a package. Fortunately, because I couldn’t take any more work on my old Mac for ten years. I was given two large screens – you need at least one for the environment of the financial agency Bloomberg, a new computer, and a manual explaining. We were even provided a camera. We had a video conference call compulsory per day. This is the way that I saw one day a colleague with a huge beard trapper !

At home, I settled in to our open plan kitchen on the ground floor, as close as possible to the optical fiber. But with my children that followed their course remotely on their iPad provided by the school, there were people on the clothesline ! There was a little stress at the beginning. Then each one took its brands and new habits. My wife has even managed to get back for lunch. We have been able to appreciate the good times, breakfast and lunch all together. That was never happened before.

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today, what am I missing, it is the intellectual stimulation with my colleagues at the office

Finally, the work at the bank has been reorganized in an efficient manner. The financial institutions, that young people sometimes saw, like old dinosaurs, were able to be flexible. This may make them again attractive to these young graduates, who prefer to work for a technology company such as Facebook. Despite the crisis of Covid-19, the activities of the investment bank fare rather well. But the activity of financing of the real economy (retail and commercial banking) is more impacted, and a source of concern. Back to school may be difficult for the banks, with likely layoffs to come…

today, what am I missing, it is the intellectual stimulation with my office colleagues. The camaraderie, human contact. A trading desk, it is competitive. At the office, there is an emulation and frequent exchanges. When you’re at home, it’s repetitive, it was the spirit less vivid and eventually become dehumanized. So, I told my boss : “I want to go back to the office.” This was denied me. The bank had already reached the maximum quota of employees in the offices, taking account of the new rules of social distancing. It has been three months that I have not seen my colleagues. Fortunately, the pubs come to reopen in London and we meet this Friday to go to drink shots ! “

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