NextGen Diaries: Andrea Valentini

28 May 2020

My lockdown started on Friday 20th March 2020, and since then I have left my apartment in Kentish Town only five times. I must admit that the beginning of this (hopefully short!) experience was not at all easy. My team at Waterman is a family to me, and not seeing them every day is sad; indeed, I miss my life at London Bridge! On top of that, the quiet of my apartment was regularly interrupted by the young lads who live downstairs and their blasting music playlist including Post Malone, Stormzy etc. Things got better though. I am feeling lucky that it is easy for me to work from home. Waterman has provided hardware and software solutions to allow smart working, we increased the frequency of management meetings and receive regular updates from our CEO. We also have a Team Pub Quiz on Fridays, which is fun (I have never won though) and is helping my team keeping the moral up. Networking and business development is perhaps one of the things I miss the most. Going to CPA events with my Waterman colleagues and the members of the NextGen Steering Group was so fun and dynamic!

We have to look at the bright side. I noticed that people are becoming more understanding and supportive, both inside and outside Waterman. People will realise that technology is not everything, and human interactions cannot be replaced. I found myself surprisingly proactive and efficient in managing daily tasks and meeting projects deadlines: I personally believe that remote working will not be frowned upon anymore. I also believe that the pandemic will have an impact not only on our life, but indeed on business too. The industry will change, in fact it’s already changing. It is perhaps too soon to tell, but population density in offices might decrease and there may be fewer face to face meetings. The need of office space might reduce too, and relying on public transportation will not be the same. In fact, I bought myself a bicycle to go to work, a beautiful Blue yonder Caféchaser Veloretti.

I started thinking perhaps individuality is a myth, people don’t think for themselves: we think in groups. It is not about how to restart the economy; we are pretty good at going through financial crises (perhaps that’s why we’ve had so many). The real question is: do we take the world back to what it was before the virus, or do we redesign it from scratch? It is entirely up to us. After all, hopefully, ‘ex malo bonum’: out of bad comes good.