What leaders think
Mark Essex, Director, Public Policy KPMG
Mark has a background in strategy. He translates political and business mega trends for KPMG’s clients and edits KPMG thought leadership on a range of subjects, as well as being an experienced keynote speaker and live broadcast panellist and presenter.
What challenge did you tackle and overcome in your business this week?
I have been thinking hard about the challenges some of my clients will face when they reopen. Do the economies of scale for, say, a restaurant still work with social distancing? If not, how do they change their business or operating model to deal with that? No single right answer but we’re helping clients decide what strategy works best for them.
Which ongoing business challenge is occupying your thoughts this week/month?
A trend I call Zero to Hero. Zero hours contractors are being literally applauded by strangers for looking after our elderly relatives, packing our groceries or delivering our orders. I have a hunch that those who experienced low wages and income insecurity might seek a better deal after the crisis. So, what does that mean for the wage bills of some sectors of the economy?
Best thing about working from home/remotely?
Diary syncing! It used to take 2-3 weeks to get everyone in a room. Now it’s unusual to wait to next week and every Friday I join roundtables with clients. Last week I went to Milton Keynes, Leeds, Nottingham and Plymouth. I’m not sure I could have done that before, even with a helicopter.
Worst thing about working from home/remotely?
Not being able to bounce ideas around with my team, or my hot desk neighbours. I do my best thinking in company. I’m sure there are people who love the peace and quiet (maybe those same neighbours….) but I hate it!
Best factual news source on Covid-19?
I never miss London Playbook from Politico (https://www.politico.eu/newsletter/london-playbook/), delivered every day at 7am. I like Reaction (www.reaction.life) for comment and opinion and Andrew Neil’s Twitter feed. A lot of the rest needs filtering or adjusting for biases.
Who or what has inspired you this week?
Victoria Coren Mitchell, for making Have I Got News for You just about watchable without the canned laughter and the audience.
Best programme/film you watched on TV/streaming this week?
100% Hotter (Channel 5) it’s not highbrow but my wife is a stylist and watches it for “work purposes”; it’s oddly addictive and it’s better than diet programmes. I know more than I ever need to about contouring!
Are you doing more or less exercise than a typical week when you commute and if more, what?
Loads more, I’m trying to cycle 10 miles a day. It’s much easier to just block out an hour in the diary in the middle of the day and go.
What are you consuming more of (that you should not be) now you are not in an office environment?
The odd keto-friendly cocktail for competitive Friday night virtual drinks but mostly electricity. My conservatory costs more to heat in a day than my 80-mile round trip drive in my electric car.
Any words of wisdom?
Don’t compromise on your office chair and if your day stretches from 8 to 8, there’s no law against taking a break in the middle of the day. A split shift isn’t so bad if there’s no commute.