One year working from home and the companies that made it possible

One year working from home. 365 days that have been unlike any others. We were forced to change not only our daily habits, but our work lives overnight. We had to rise to new challenges, take on new responsibilities… All the while trying to keep the elusive work-life balance, which was made increasingly difficult when our desks were in our kitchens, bedrooms or front rooms.

“The main advantage of working at home is that you get to find out what cats really do all day.” – Lynn Truss, journalist and radio broadcaster

Pre-pandemic, I rarely got in front of the camera. But last March, I agreed to record a video from my front room. I moved the sofa, showed my husband how to work the camera and set off to tell you how to survive lockdown. What I thought would be a one-off soon escalated. As it quickly became clear we’d be working from home for the foreseeable future, I had to find a way to bring not only our fund manager videos to life, but also our educational content. This week, to mark the first anniversary of working from home, I’m highlighting all the companies that made it possible.

Virtual conferencing

Much can be debated about the “right” video conferencing service but, like everything, it comes down to preferences. One of the biggest players, who made a lot of noise at the start of the pandemic, was Zoom. This has been FundCalibre’s platform of choice for interviews and recording our Investing on the go podcast.

Other popular names in this space include Cisco, a holding in Guinness Global Innovators*, and Microsoft, a holding in Brown Advisory Global Leaders*. Manager Mick Dillion, recently shared with us how Microsoft solves problems for its customers, such as enabling individuals to have technology across all their devises for a very low price each month, and helping small businesses rent the infrastructure and services they need without a huge capital outlay.

Find out more in this video interview:

Camera equipment and gear

Having the right camera equipment is important, but professional level equipment doesn’t fit in a two bedroom flat! So the last year has meant a lot of improvisation with our Nikon and Sony cameras. Sony has an excellent range of cameras from entry level to expert. Its cameras are easy to use as evidenced by my creativity-challenged husband.

Sony, at its core, is a technology company. But Chisako Hardie, manager of AXA Framlington Japan commented, “It also has a competitive content business. In fact, it is a world player in the field of entertainment (music, movies and games). Covid-19 has drastically changed people’s life-styles and, in the foreseeable future, they will not entirely revert back. Digitalisation will continue to progress and individual work-life balance will improve.”

Image quality is only any good if the audio and stability can match it though. I’ve been a lifelong personal customer of Manfrotto, a brand within Vitec Group. Vitec Group is a huge player in all aspects of videography, technology and accessories. Paul Marriage, manager of TM Tellworth UK Smaller Companies, told us more bout Vitec in his latest podcast.

And, of course, there’s the editing. When it comes to this stage of the process, Adobe is unparalleled in my opinion. Whether it’s Photoshop, Premier Pro, Audition or After Effects, the Adobe Create Suite is a tool I use daily. David Harrison, manager of Rathbone Global Sustainability, commented, “Given the likely acceleration in digital penetration in the coming years, we think that Adobe’s opportunity set will continue to grow. The business also plays a key role in promoting remote digital collaboration, which will also be critical as the world re-opens after 2020 and we see new ways of working emerge.”

The unsung heroes

As if I needed an excuse to go shopping, being front of camera meant a little retail therapy too – all in the name of “work”, of course. Since moving to the UK, I’ve always shopped at Next. It’s affordable and, most importantly, has quick delivery. Next is top holding in both EdenTree Responsible and Sustainable UK Equity** and Ninety One UK Special Situations*.

And although fancy equipment and a new wardrobe is important, it means nothing if my dogs are barking in the background or chewing their way through all the wires and cables. A survey found that 41%*** of Brits who owned a pet pre-pandemic added at least one new furry friend since March 2020 – myself included!

But thanks to endless treats from Pets at Home, filming days have quickly become their favourite. Sue Noffke, manager of Schroder Income Growth, commented, “Rapidly growing pet ownership in the UK has been a boon for one of our core positions, Pets at Home. Less time spent commuting and greater working from home has strengthened the bond between owner and animal, boosting wellbeing and accelerating pet spend. Leading market positions in advanced nutrition pet food, accessories, grooming and veterinary services means Pets at Home is well-placed to benefit from the UK’s surging pet population for years to come.”

Chris St John, manager of AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap, also talked to us more about pet ownership in the UK and Pets at Home in our most recent podcast.

Don’t tell the dogs, but while it’s been rewarding making a success of our digital media from the comfort of my front room, I’m actually looking forward to going back to the office and having co-workers who don’t pester me to let them outside…

*Source: fund factsheet, 28 February 2021
**Source: fund factsheet, 31 January 2021
***Source: Ipsos Knowledge Centre, January 2021

This article is provided for information only. The views of the author and any people quoted are their own and do not constitute financial advice. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any fund or trust, or to adopt a particular investment strategy. However, the knowledge that professional analysts have analysed a fund or trust in depth before assigning them a rating can be a valuable additional filter for anyone looking to make their own decisions. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. Remember, all investments can fall in value as well as rise, so you could make a loss. Before you make any investment decision, make sure you’re comfortable and fully understand the risks.Further information can be found on Elite Rated funds by simply clicking on the name highlighted in the article.