Getting ready for the future when the current situation is so uncertain was a core theme of the opening talks at the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment's Paraplanner conference 2020.
Dan Atkinson, chairman of the CISI's paraplanner panel, opened the proceedings by talking of how the whole financial services industry is getting ready for the future.
He told delegates on the online conference - some of whom were joining from all over the world - "We have had to make so many adaptations, and one of the most encouraging things for me has been seeing people support each other across the profession during this time.
"Many people have felt more trusted and valued in the businesses where they work, and others have gone and started new businesses and ventures of their own, which has been brilliant.
"However, others have found themselves up against the challenges of working from home, and a lack of human contact, and this has been difficult.
"Still others are finding it financially burdensome, with some people furloughed", he said.
But Mr Atkinson said he believed paraplanners would "get there" together as a profession, stating that despite the strange new world we are in, "the need for financial planning has not changed, and so the need for paraplanners to support that is still going to continue."
Following his introduction, last year’s Paraplanner of the year winner Katherine Mock talked about her career so far, the “ups and downs and some of the things I have learned along the way”.
She spoke honestly of her struggle with mental ill health and how a decade ago she thought it would present a big obstacle for her, but although things have been “incredibly tough” sometimes, her chosen career as a paraplanner has given her “some excellent life skills”.
These came to bear during the Covid lockdown, as she explained the importance of learning how to manage your time well - and being bold enough to turn the computer off instead of working all hours of the day.
“Having one place in your house where you work is good for routine. Also having proper breaks and just don’t fill your day with too many Zoom calls. It can be so tiring, so you have to remember when you are at home, you may be more intensely productive than in an office with more distractions, but take it easy”, she said.
She also spoke of the importance of human interaction and finding trusted friends to share how you are feeling, especially considering how out of control the whole nation can feel at this time.
Ms Mock added: “I am one for routine. Creating little times when you do things for yourself helps to bring back a little bit of control. Obviously I cannot control lockdown or coronavirus. But I can change my environment, create a structure and control my routine.”