Getting Used to the New Normal

Zoom Meeting

So today I thought I’d talk about a typical week in my life. Except that typical is the wrong word now! Everything is still “new” and normal is different, for all of us. I thought I’d regroup and examine what my new, normal week looked like, what I like about it and what it’s taught me and my clients too. Plus, it’s January, it’s a New Year, with a New Year comes that “fresh start” feeling and that fresh start is now a “new normal fresh start”, if you get my drift!

There’s No Need to Schlep…!
It’s been a good start to January. My meetings continue to be 100% Zoom and I have to say, if there’s one positive to this pandemic, it’s the ability to see so many people from up and down the country (and overseas) on my computer screen at the drop of a hat! As an example, on Monday I spoke to a client who lives in Tower Bridge, London – 100 miles away from me. Now, there’s no more travelling miles for a meeting with half the day gone! That’s not to say I don’t miss face to face, I do, but I feel I get a lot more done, really quickly.

Then on Wednesday I had a Microsoft Teams meeting with a networking group called Nucleus. I’ve been a member for the last few years and usually, our meetings take place in Edinburgh, three or four times a year. It’s a big journey, a long and tiring day but this week we all tuned in online at 8.45am and by 12.30pm I was finished and looking forwards to my lunch! We’re going to continue with online meetings for 2021 and we’ve already discussed that in 2022, we’ll probably do a combination of a couple of face-to-face group meetings and the others through the screen.

Last year, a normal diary would mean me having client meetings at 10.00am and 2.00pm with phone calls beforehand and at lunchtime. I’d have a client in the office for a face-to-face meeting. The meeting would probably be drawn out into 2 hours mainly because most of my clients had done a long, 50 mile or more trip. I couldn’t possibly finish a meeting in 20 minutes! So we’d find lots of other things to talk about. Now, with Zoom, I can make these meetings short for 20 or 30 minutes and cover off one topic, booking another meeting in a week or a couple of weeks to discuss the next topic. It works well, another sign that ways of working have changed permanently and perhaps it’s for the better.

The New Normal Means We Care More!
Another Zoom meeting I had this week was with an old client from Durham who’s moved nearby. She has quite a bit of money that she wants to invest and she asked me about ethical investments. Ethical investing is a real buzz term at the moment and I have to say, I love it! It got us talking about what’s important in life, family, friends, the good in humans and actually that’s another positive that’s come from the pandemic. People show they care so much more.

People are More Tech-Savvy
Another positive is that more and more people who wouldn’t normally use a computer now find that they’re tech-savvy. I had a client this morning, Friday, who is 68 years young. Pre-Covid, she’d never used Zoom before and now she’s a pro! She’s online all the time and it made me chuckle when she cut our meeting short because she had to excuse herself to prepare for her next Zoom meeting.

The New Normal Means Learning to Stop Putting Things Off!
On Tuesday morning, I had a call out of the blue from a man who I hadn’t heard from since 2004. Unfortunately, his mother had died suddenly of a heart attack the day before. When I enquired about his father, I was told he had dementia and was in a care home so he didn’t even know his spouse had passed away. The crux of the call was that there was no LPA in place (do read my other blog on the importance of LPAs please). That meant that with the father not in a fit state to deal with the will and property (which was left entirely to him), everything would be passed over to the care home to cover their fees. It also meant costly Court of Protection procedure. I distinctly remember telling this couple when they were alive and healthy, to put an LPA in place. It made me wonder yet again why do people put things off? These types of calls happen scarily often. Putting things off creates obstacles at a later date and impacts life quality. I only ever advise doing things to protect my clients from misfortune later on. On a positive note, I had a Zoom on Thursday with a divorcee who’s in her 60s and she agreed immediately to put her LPA in place.

The New Normal Means I’m Taking My Own Advice
Actually, the above was a pertinent call for my situation too because this week I went to a Covid-safe Boots (another “new” normal) to replace a pair of glasses but ended up having an audiology exam. My hearing hasn’t been playing ball for a few years now and I knew deep down I needed some help. So, I tried a pair of hearing aids. Let me tell you, when I put them in suddenly it was like the sun blazed out from behind the clouds! I could hear crisply, I could recognise background noise and it made me wonder what I’ve missed out on. Then I was told the price, £2,500! The audiologist told me to go away and think about it; after all, it was a large sum of money to part with. I did think about it and was ready to say no until someone reminded me that I would be putting off something important. Something that would give me better quality of life (and I’m a Life Planner!). I’m all about better quality of life and not putting things off. Yet there was me getting annoyed that someone hadn’t spent the money on an LPA and I was umming and aahing over whether or not I should spend the money on myself to improve my own life! So, I’m taking my own advice and I’m buying the hearing aids.

The Future
Going forwards, this new normal will modify once more. My ideal would be to conduct the technical bit online. I still want to do the face-to face meetings as they build trust and relationships instead of sitting there just noting facts and figures. So perhaps we’ll do the technical online and then a real person to person meeting to get to know our clients better. Although, Zoom does show the human side of life because they’re generally at home and sometimes you get family or pet interruptions! This morning I shared a screen and showed someone what button to use – but I got it wrong! We had a good laugh; we can still be human on Zoom! I’d love to know what you think about the “new normal” and how it’s changed your working week – for the better? Or not?

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