Return to the stage AlgoMe Consulting article


Return to the office: It is time to think about yourself

Posted by Pierre-Yves Rahari on 30 November 2021

2022 is set to be a more in person year than 2021. Many organisations in Investment Management have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks and months to craft, manage and execute plans to allow a gradual return to the office. For members of the industry, this means a return to commuting and travel routines; to the demands of a highly competitive environment; and to the pressure of high performance in the workplace[1]. As we begin to navigate our ways back into old routines; working together alongside each other, networking, attending events and so on, for some, after such a long break, there may be a glimmer of anxiety or stage fright even, as we get back to our desks and meetings.

In this context, how does one prepare to return to the office, and step from behind the Zoom screen straight back into the City, after many months working from home?

To help reflect on this question, British Tenor and Therapist Ed Lyon[2] was a guest speaker at an AlgoMe Consulting breakfast event[3]. He shared his experience of adapting to lockdown, before returning to the opera stage, thereby giving our audience an opportunity to draw a parallel between the City and another high-performance world.

Ed highlighted how the sudden lockdown in 2020 offered him an unexpected break from the stressful and pressured eco-system of the classical music world, with its strains of competition, performance, financial and personal pressure, all leading to a quasi-burn out situation. This break was for Ed an opportunity to question and reassess his life and career options. He refers to this period as his “forced sabbatical.” Much soul-searching took place where Ed reflected, amongst other things, on his motivations to work as an opera singer – is it money, fame, the “need to be seen and heard?”; the true meaning [for himself] of performing on stage; and what really makes him a high-performing artist. As a result, it became “gradually clear [to Ed] that [his] motivation to work – literally perform – had to come about by aligning healthy professional ambitions with individual, private values and needs.” In addition, reflecting on the lack of much-needed structural mental health support in his industry, Ed took the step to train as Therapist during lockdown and subsequently open an online clinic, working on anxiety issues with members of his industry and others[4].

Having found again meaning in his work and having now returned to the stage, this is how Ed, in his own words, summarised the insight he gained from his reflective, cathartic yet transformative journey:

  • Accept what you do well and what you do not so well;
  • If you want to improve things that you do less well, this needs to be done within an environment of security, not one of threat;
  • Happiness and security come from an alignment of work life with private values and needs. Without that alignment, no amount of success or remuneration will offset that fundamental imbalance;
  • To be in a state of constant competitiveness with those around you stifles individual growth and risks burnout;
  • Only be heard when you are ready to be heard. The reason being, ultimately, the audience will wait.

The post-talk discussion was interesting and there was consensus; taking a break to reflect; aligning your work ambition to your personal values and needs, and finding meaning again is an important task.

How will your own journey back-to-the-office look like and how are you going to continue to be at the top of your performance without jeopardising your private values?




[1] Despite the uncertainty brought in the last few weeks by the so-called fifth wave, which has prompted Austria and other European countries to tighten once again their Covid-related restriction measures

[2] Ed Lyon’s opera work can be found on:

[3] “Return to the stage – form and reform,” as seen on AlgoMe Consulting’s LinkedIn page:

[4] Ed Lyon’s therapy work can be found on:

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