Kingsmill's Investment Miscellanea: Friday, February 12, 2021

February 12, 2021 | Joshua Kingsmill


Key Takeaways

  • When will workplace return dates be established?
  • We all look forward to not having our home our coffee shop, restaurant, gym, bar, etc
  • Things will be different though when we do return

One of the questions I’m asked all the time is: When will your office reopen, when will my office open? Return-to-office dates have shifted so much in the past year that most companies aren’t in a position to really share the status with employees. At RBC, they haven’t given us an indication, other than it depends on what the health situation is, and are monitoring the situation. The best I can guess is that workplace return dates aren’t before September—and beyond. In the mean-time, for those of us who are working at home, I joke about going upstairs to Starbucks when I pour my coffee, heading to the gym as I do push-ups or take a spin on my Peleton, and grabbing a pint at my local (aka my Fridge!).

I’m not saying this is my current office set up exactly, but…

Upside Down Head Photo


Things will be different. This week in Toronto, Scotiabank announced that they are vacating the top many floors of their prestigious headquarters (LINK). I have no doubt that many companies are drawing up similar plans.

Nearly a year of makeshift work at home has weighed on employees. I was talking to a good friend the other day, and he observed that while before he didn’t really have an appreciation for the importance of mental health other than in the abstract, this year he’s learned a lot about this (as many of us have). We are social creatures, not built to have limited interactions indefinitely. While many companies say productivity is up, executives worry that creativity is suffering and say that burnout is on the rise. It’s not very clear on what the future looks like. I think it’s fair to say that most of us are in limbo: can’t plan holidays, can’t visit friends, worry about the virus. Some certainty and a path would be nice, but we all know we can’t have it right now.

I know for certain that when I am able to return to work, and I’m certainly not alone in thinking this, but it won’t be a return to every day in the office. We all miss the social aspect, exchanging of ideas, having lunch and dinner. The daily commute to work, dropping off and picking children, and being beholden to that schedule now seems strange though.

I’ve read that we need we need 80% to 85% of the population vaccinated before reopening big downtown office buildings. We will see.

One of the fun things about my job is that I get to speak to my clients on a regular basis, so I get to hear all kinds of perspectives, and learn how we are all coping with the situation.

I will leave this week with a neat list I found identifying the classifications of how different people are handling the environment. We all know people who fit into each of these classifications…

Deniers: who downplay the viral threat, promoting business as usual
Harmers: who may spit or cough at others or dub COVID-19 the “Boomer Remover”
Invincibles: often youth, who believe themselves to be immune, flocking to beaches and partying
Rebels: who defiantly flout social rules restricting their individual freedoms

Spreaders: who want the virus to spread, herd immunity to develop, and normality to return
Blamers: who vent their fears and frustrations onto others, discriminating against racial groups or health-care workers
Exploiters: who exploit the situation for power or brutality

Realists: who recognize the reality of COVID-19’s harm and adjust their behaviours
Worriers: who stay informed and safe to manage their uncertainty and viral-induced fear
Contemplators: who isolate and reflect on life and the world
Hoarders: who panic-buy food, toilet paper, and other products to quell their insecurity
Innovators: who design or repurpose resources, for example, for face masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment
Supporters: who show their solidarity in support of others through, for example, claps, songs, and rainbows
Altruists: who — like the “caremongers” — help the vulnerable, elderly, and isolated
Warriors: like the front-line health-care workers who combat COVID-19’s grim reality
Veterans: who experienced SARS or MERS and willingly comply with COVID-19 restrictions