Have you put up your Christmas tree?

2020 has witnessed unprecedented use of the word unprecedented. We’ve seen Australia on fire, Black Lives Matter, the end of Trump’s presidency and Brexit actually happen. Momentous global changes with far reaching consequences. In any other year, these would have dominated the news agenda for days, but in 2020 took second place to the seemingly unending story of Covid.

However, despite enormous disruption it’s been uplifting to see the new normal become, in a sense, normal. At our publication Funds Europe, we’ve seen this reflected in readership behaviour. Whereas Covid-related stories dominated ‘clicks’ in March and April, readers’ interest is balancing out again as interest returns to ESG, emerging markets and fixed income stories.

The biggest change we’ve seen this year, is the loss of networking and face to face contact. As much as the Lens does not miss airport lounges, nothing can replace sharing a drink with a client in London, Luxembourg, Singapore or Boston.

Curiously, the net effect of this has been more telephone and video calling as people recognise the value of a 10-minute phone call and its ability to replace the time and effort of communicating complex ideas via time-consuming emails. Not only are these calls better for your inbox, but they can create better relationships as you spend time with clients and colleagues talking about children, dogs, Netflix shows and idiosyncratic wallpaper.

In addition, is there any better insight into the human psyche than knowing when a person deems it acceptable to put their Christmas tree up? Something we could have only guessed at before, is now revealed daily on Zoom.

From a business perspective, at Funds Europe the number of webinars we’ve produced has trebled and we can be proud of the quality of content and audiences we’ve delivered. We have also ventured into the world of virtual events with the FundTech and Funds Europe Awards.

Now, as 2020 draws to a close, a vaccine is in sight, bringing with it, the promise of a return to our old lives. Some things will revert to being the same – but some things will change forever. Travel, conferences and events will be back; nothing can replace that human interaction. However, virtual events and effective teleconferencing will remain part of the ecosystem, offering environmentally friendly and effective alternatives that fit perfectly with the zeitgeist.

How else will you know who has put up their Christmas tree unprecedentedly early?