Forty days of lockdown and here we are. The symbolic importance of that number is still debated. Number 40 is at the heart of numerous sacred scripts, very often in the context of judgment, so much that many interpret it as the number of divine intervention or punishment. Number 40 seems to be associated with a period of reflection, maturation succeeding major events, in other words reinvigoration.

New lifestyle trends in the early days of lockdown

I’m not a numerologist, and I never thought I’d survive more than ten days under house arrest. I will admit that we’ve come very close to mutiny several times.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I watched every day the informative updates of “Mr. Virologist”, showing the latest statistics and sharing his predictions in case we did not adopt the outlined lockdown rules; it became a crucial habit of my day like watching the weather predictions only the Weatherman has a much easier task as it seems!. Ironically in modern times, unlike Noah’s forty days of torrential rain, we’re living our unprecedented events in closed spaces, but with very fine weather!

When the unusual becomes a norm

During those forty days, I observed how quickly we could transform our lifestyles. With digital technology, we have been able to “get out of the house”, organize our family reunions, do our shopping. Digital technology doesn’t do it all, as we still have to physically deliver the parcels: the postman that I had never seen in five years has now become my friend. We were wondering how we are going to survive: we have had a lot of drinks on Skype or with our neighbors, over a fence.

Looking in the rear-view mirror, I can see that we l adapted well to the situation. I don’t look at the newspapers any more to build up an ironclad mentality to get through the crisis. Social distancing has become a habit. Today, when I venture into the bakery, I felt almost like a surgeon going into the operating theatre: mask over my mouth and nose, disinfected hands, impeccable hygiene measures.

The forests near the neighborhood hold no more secrets; I walked, jogged and cycled through them. Since March 12, I have travelled less than 20 kilometers by car, but more than 100 kilometers by feet. As a result, I haven’t yet benefited from the spectacular drop in the price of gas, but I have lost nearly 4 kilos!

Confined and connected

After forty days of lockdown, I no longer feel like I am working from home but living at my workplace. We are confined and connected. Digital and collaborative tools allow us to be at a distance but still all together.

The workshops with our customers and prospects continue just like the projects we have already started; we seem to continue working with the same levels of energy, if nor higher.

The infrastructure in place allows us to ensure our support missions for our customers. Companies are focusing on agile and functional means of communication. Presentation meetings have been transformed into webinars.

Despite embracing social distancing, we still remain connected by creating our own regional corporate tradition. On Thursdays, after the end of the working day, all our colleagues in Luxembourg are invited to a Skype aperitif. After the work, the indulgence.

Preparing for a highly digitalized tomorrow

The Lockdown has not dampened the innovative spirit at VERMEG. As I said to you at the beginning, number 40 seems to be associated with a period of reflection, maturation succeeding great events, in other words reinvigoration. At least, that’s the case for us. We are in the process of preparing a multitude of new products. We are working on a “Next Generation” version of Palmyra and we enrich the Marketplace with new components, such as Digital Advisory, insurance and finance modules. To manage the impact of the new “20022” format, we have set up an “MT-MX” converter and enriched the messaging to limit and control the impact of change. Finally, we are preparing a solution for integrating custodian flows for insurers. This is a glimpse of the VERMEG Digital Future. As they say, “Stay tuned” to find out more in the coming weeks.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The signs of recovery and deconfinement are there. Governments are gradually lifting their lockdown measures, major construction sites are being relaunched, masks are being distributed. There are signals of return to a “normal” life. Do we see the light at the end of the tunnel (or is it the train that is coming towards us)?

Stay strong and hold on for a few more days, until we meet again to take control of our lives and the digital world.