Juggling family life working from home and dealing with clients around the world

Thursday 11 June 2020

CFA UK Insights

Author: Joanne Frearson

Before the lockdown, Benjamin Jones, CFA, Senior Multi-Asset Strategist at State Street was travelling the world, visiting clients to talk about the markets.  

Now following the pandemic his working environment has completely changed. He still talks to clients around the world, but he does this from his home via video conferencing, email and phone, while also looking after two small children with his wife.
”I've got to be honest,” Jones says. “I really didn't like to do that in the past. It's much better to have a conversation with someone in person. You can really gauge whether they're interested in what you're talking about or if they are wanting to talk about something else, they are much more forthcoming.”

However as time has gone by he has gotten use to doing his job from home. “It is interesting that over the last two months or so, people have become a lot more comfortable, with these forms of technology and these forms of communicating,” he says. “Now a lot of the meetings that I'm doing with clients are working very well over this medium.”

Balancing work with looking after children

But Jones also has also had another role to play while at home, looking after a six and nine year old.  This means he needs to organises his time flexibly, so he can be there for his children to help them with their school. 

“I have three meals with them everyday,” he says. “It just means that sometimes I’m working at 10:00pm to 11:00pm at night, when I wouldn't have been normally. But there are some of the sort of silver linings we can take from it, you can spend more of the time that you wouldn't have done otherwise, with members of your family.”

Jones thinks he is lucky as in his job he can be flexible to fit everything in and warns depending up which job someone has it can be a balancing act juggling working from home.

Working at home tips

The tip’s he gives for people working from home is to make sure you have reasonable Wi-Fi and tech at home. He explains there is nothing worse than your Internet going down half way through a conference call and you not being able to communicate. 

It is also good to have one place where you can communicate with your team. “Everyone has gone to working from home in our team,” he says. “We are actually communicating a lot better than we were before because rather than turning around and having a conversation with your colleague behind you, you have a conversation on a single chat room and everyone is participating wherever they are in the world.”

However, there is one thing that worries Jones, about working from home is presenteeism.  

“You always have to be there and instantly reply,” he points out. “Otherwise people think you are off watching Cash in the Attic or whatever. But everybody is in the same boat and we all know that things crop up.  Give yourself a break.”

Workplace of the future

As lockdown rules ease, Jones is sure people will not be going immediately back to the office. If you look at places starting to ease the lockdown, he points out, it does seem to be gradual process that is taking place.

 “Until we have got vaccines and things in place we are not going to be completely comfortable defeating this,” he says. “I suspect what will happen is there'll be a gradual return to work and people will be phased into doing it. People will be working remotely a lot more than they have done in the past. 

“What this thing has taught us is that for many roles, working remotely is as good and in some cases, even better than the working. There is going to be a lot more working remotely. It is going to save some costs for clients having people travelling less and to embrace this type of technology.”

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