Richard Clarke, Managing Director of Guernsey’s Rossborough and Rossborough Healthcare is in the hot seat today, reflecting on how 2020 has been for him both personally and professionally, his idea of a good Christmas and his hopes for 2021.
How has this year been for you personally?
It’s been a very mixed year. In some ways I’ve really struggled and in other ways I feel like I’ve thrived.
There is no question that while I was working from home with my kids (10 and 7 year old girls), I really did struggle. I’m a patient person but during that period of time I felt ever-increasing amounts of pressure as a parent and an employee. To be honest I ended up feeling like I wasn’t doing a particularly good job at either. Eventually I was able to get on top of that by finding a level of acceptance of just how crazy the situation is and that we all need to give ourselves a break.
On the thriving side, I’ve trained for and run a marathon which I loved. It gave me a great sense of achievement. I also reconnected with friends in other parts of the world. Where would we be without the amazing tech we all have access to?
How has this year been for you professionally?
Again, a mixed bag. As MD of our Guernsey office but living in Jersey, it has been very frustrating not being able to travel to connect properly with the team.
We are driving lots of positive change within our Guernsey office and it’s very difficult to influence that through a video or phone call. Similarly, not being able to travel to the Isle of Man or UK for the other aspects of my role is also frustrating.
I love having an element of travel as part of my job so I do miss that. On the flipside, our Healthcare business has gone from strength to strength this year more than any other. The value of the additional Health & Wellbeing support that we’re able to provide to clients has really come into its own.
Knowing that we are able to provide such an important service to clients at a difficult and uncertain time is very rewarding. We’ve also been able to use that to help our own Rossborough staff across Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
What’s your ‘hot take’ for 2020?
Jersey – it’s an AMAZING place to live which I’ve always been grateful for, but this year has really reminded me how lucky we are. Of all the places to be locked down, I can’t think of many better. Oh, and Cobra Kai on Netflix…a must watch!
Tell us your hopes for 2021.
My main hope is to get some more certainty around how we are going to live with COVID. This seems ultimately driven by the timing of a vaccine.
Life feels a bit day-to-day/week-to-week at the moment. Certainly for me, not being able to plan when you can next see family and friends from other parts of the world, plan a celebration, a work event, travel to connect with work colleagues… all of those things are so important to my sense of wellbeing.
At least by having a sense of timings for a vaccine, we should be able to start getting our heads around how we can start to plan for making those things happen safely.
What would you like to see the States of Jersey/Guernsey focus on first in 2021?
I think both islands on the whole are proving to be quite resilient, with our core financial services sector specifically holding strong.
For both SoJ and SoG let’s make sure we don’t forget about smaller businesses that need more support navigating through this period, whatever their sector. They need the continued support now to ensure they’re still here in the future.
I’d also like to see our governments look at how they can create an easier path for travel between the two islands. There are so many pan-island / connected businesses and while the islands are taking different strategic approaches to border control, there must be a balance to be found to allow easier travel between the islands for those that need it.
What does a perfect Christmas for you look like?
Food. Lots of food… and seeing the reaction of my children first thing in the morning when they see that Santa has been.
Do you prefer Christmas or New Year?
Definitely Christmas! I struggle with the expectation that comes from New Year’s Eve and having to have a great night, and then the pressure to make resolutions just because it’s a new year.
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
Home Alone… timeless.
Are you ready for Christmas or do you wait until the last minute to get organised?
I’m afraid that with Christmas presents it’s usually last minute for me… apologies to anyone who has ever received a gift from me, or anyone that receives one this year.
What would you like Santa to leave under the tree for you this year?
A book on how to look after a hamster (Christmas present for the girls is a hamster and I have no idea what to do with one!).