A couple of days ago I was running in to work listening to the radio and I caught a track called “Every Silver Lining has a Cloud”. This got me thinking about all the silver linings linked to Covid.

The cloud is unlike one I have seen before - we have seen friends and family get very ill and, tragically in some cases, pass away; many businesses have suffered or failed; and we are in the midst of a mental health crisis caused by anxiety and isolation (see Chris’ comments on the importance of employee benefits).

Thankfully, we have also beheld many success stories of pivoting businesses, human ingenuity and the use of new technologies which have helped to ameliorate the direst predictions. As Richard writes in his blog, lucky no19?, we should consider ourselves fortunate that Covid-19 was not Covid-09, when we had neither the infrastructure, processing power, nor machine learning to deliver such rapidly developed vaccines, the same level of home working and, of course, remote learning. From a silver linings’ perspective Covid has already catalysed or accelerated significant changes.

Having seen these rapid developments, I genuinely think we are stood at the dawn of a new era where technology, properly managed for the good of all, will continue to transform our lives for the better. Whilst it is of little surprise that technology continues to be focus of the team’s blogs, fundamentals such as eating and social activity are still important. The Food and Leisure industry has in general suffered a tumultuous year, though as ever there were a few silver linings within it to make valuations less straightforward to interpret, as outlined in our report on the food and leisure sector.

Other matters covered include “click-bait” worthy lists such as technology trends to keep an eye on, robot trends in 2021 as well as seeking to answer the question from anyone who has sought to have a garden room built or indeed looked to build an extension – where have all the building supplies gone?

One area I fear for is climate change, especially as budgets are inevitably under pressure: I discuss in my blog on Net Zero a concern that we are still polluting now for payment later – there are bigger clouds gathering, let us hope that Covid has taught us that working together to find a global solution to a global problem is the best route, and that we can address this soon. Surely, we must all pay more than lip-service to ESG.

Kind regards,