Inside the daily routine of a Deutsche Bank managing director, who used to travel 10 days a month for work and moved from Manhattan to upstate New York during the pandemic

Inside the daily routine of a Deutsche Bank managing director, who used to travel 10 days a month for work and moved from Manhattan to upstate New York during the pandemic

November 12, 2020
  • Before the pandemic, Piers Constable, a managing director at Deutsche Bank, spent about 10 days per month traveling for work.
  • Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, the New York City-based executive has been working from home in the Catskills in upstate New York.
  • In May, he walked Business Insider through his typical day in a world changed by the virus.
  • Constable wakes up at 6 a.m., spends the day on video calls with clients and colleagues, and manages to fit in a daily jog.
  • He said he's felt much more efficient working from home, making him reconsider how much he'll need to travel for work in the future.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Piers Constable had mastered his daily routine as a managing director at Deutsche Bank.

In 2018, Business Insider interviewed Constable for a look at a typical day in his life, which included waking up at 5 a.m. every day to work out — even on business trips. He traveled 10 days out of the month as the head of the bank's structured trade and export finance division in the Americas. As a competitive triathlete who competes in seven or eight triathlons per year as well as other races, Constable liked to take a morning run to explore new cities he was visiting for work.

The New York City-based executive has traveled to more than 60 countries while working for Deutsche Bank and has also lived in London and Dubai. 

In May, Business Insider caught back up with Constable and he walked us through a day in his new life in a world where business travel is at a standstill. Since the beginning of New York's lockdown, he and his wife have been living at their house in the Catskills, about 100 miles north of New York City.

Here's what a typical day looks like for a Deutsche Bank managing director during a global pandemic.

Piers Constable is a New York City-based managing director at Deutsche Bank.

He's the head of the bank's structured trade and export finance division in the Americas.

Before the pandemic, Constable was traveling for work about 10 days out of each month.

"I've spent the last 25 years traveling every few weeks around the world meeting clients and looking after our projects," Constable told Business Insider in May. "I was away for five weeks before the lockdown, in Costa Rica, Miami, Madrid, Paris and Abidjan, and immediately wondered how I would cope being stuck in one place. But I've surprised myself how I've adapted, I haven't missed the traveling because no one else is, and I feel I'm calmer now."

Since the start of New York's coronavirus lockdown in March, Constable and his wife, a logistics manager at H&M, have been living at their house in the Catskills, about 100 miles north of the city.

"We bought the house a couple of years ago, wanting to spend more time doing the things we love in the mountains," he said. "It's in the middle of nowhere and we have felt so fortunate being able to escape the city in this tough time."

A competitive triathlete, Constable takes off Monday mornings from training. Instead, he wakes up at 6 a.m. to get in 30 minutes of stretching before his work day starts.

"I've had to incorporate this into my routine as I've gotten older, if I want to continue doing all the running, riding, and traveling I do," Constable said. "It's a pain getting up 30 minutes earlier every day, but I can feel the benefits."

By 7 a.m., Constable is reading emails while he eats breakfast.

Constable says he eats the same breakfast wherever he is in the world: coffee and granola with yogurt and fruit.

At 7:30, he has a call with a client with whom Deutsche Bank is working on an infrastructure project in the US.

The early call is to suit the schedules of colleagues in London and Frankfurt who are dialing in.

After the call with the client, Constable and his coworkers catch up internally to discuss the next steps.

"This part of my job hasn't changed at all," he said. "We're all used to conference calls at inconvenient hours to accommodate different time zones."

After catching up on some more emails, Constable takes a 20-minute walk with his wife on their lane.

"We try and do this every morning," he said. "Despite the rain today, it feels great to stretch our legs and talk through the day ahead. My wife is a fast walker, and I always struggle to keep up with her."

By 9:30, Constable is back at the house for his daily video call with his team — a 15-minute-maximum FaceTime chat where they're not allowed to discuss work, only what they did the night before or what's worrying them.

"As it's a Monday we talked about the weekend, I felt immediately useless when I listened to the incredible things my team had done that weekend locked up in their apartments," Constable said. "I'm very proud of how we've stayed connected these past couple months. I feel closer to my team now than ever before; we're all really looking out for each other. These calls are a big part of that."

Next is a call with colleagues in London to discuss which law firm they should choose to act for them on a project in Africa.

"This could have been done by email, but I find myself favoring human contact these days and so try to connect with colleagues by phone or video as often as I can," Constable said.

After that, it's straight into a regular Monday morning call with the US management team on Skype.

"It's taken a few weeks to get to grips with video etiquette — when to speak and when to keep quiet, and definitely no multi-tasking as it appears immediately rude," Constable said.

At 12:30, Constable takes a break to eat some pasta leftovers for lunch and catch up on emails he hasn't had a chance to reply to.

He also calls his family in London.

"My father has been sick in hospital for the past six weeks, but he's better now and returning home this week," Constable said. "We're all super excited for him, but it's been tough for my mother being on her own at home. I've spent at least half an hour every day during this time on the phone with my mother and brother, and more recently my father too from his hospital bed. We're pretty close as a family and this has helped us get through this."

For an afternoon pick-me-up, Constable makes a cup of coffee for himself and one for his wife.

"We've settled into a routine pretty easily the last couple of months; she works upstairs and I work downstairs and pretty much keep to ourselves," Constable said. "She's been super busy these past weeks. Her job is stressful, but we're both thankful to still be employed and have interesting days."

Constable spends the rest of the day answering emails and making calls. He says he's "amazed" by how busy the company has been during the lockdown.

"I'm connecting with colleagues and clients just as regularly as before, but now over phone and video, not face-to-face," he said. "I feel I'm much more efficient now, and it's definitely making me think twice about how much I need to travel going forward."

The sun finally comes out after a rainy day, so Constable decides to go for a run at 5:30 p.m.

"We're so lucky where we are — I can run for an hour on empty roads without seeing a soul or worrying about social distancing," Constable said. "I've been able to run or ride every day since we've been up here. My legs are tired after an active weekend but it feels great to be out. I'm slower than normal, but the run is great for the mind!"

When he gets back to the house, he starts making dinner while his wife wraps up her work. On the menu: chicken and a butternut squash in the oven with some curry paste.

"This is probably the best change since the lockdown — I never cook dinner in the city and my wife and I rarely get home at the same time to eat," Constable said. "But we've cooked something different every night the past two months and always taken the time to talk over the day we've just had — a real luxury that we'll definitely try and keep to once we get back to the city."

After dinner, Constable spends another hour on his iPad sending emails before bed.

"It's been another productive day  — very different from how I'd spend it in normal circumstances, but proving we can be very efficient working from home, even when we take time out of the day to go for a walk or a run or cook a dinner," Constable said. 

Constable started taking even more walks after getting a pandemic puppy: Charlie Brown the Labradoodle.

"We'd been talking about getting a dog for ages but always came up with practical reasons why it wouldn't work with us at work and traveling around the world," Constable told Business Insider. "Now that we were working from home and not flying anywhere, it felt a good time to take the plunge!"

Constable and his wife got Charlie Brown in June when he was eight weeks old.

"He's now nearly seven months, has so much energy, and is demanding hikes in the mountains every day," Constable said.

While Constable is still working from home in the Catskills, he and his wife started making short trips back to their Upper West Side apartment after New York City began allowing outdoor dining in June.

"We started coming back for two to three days every two or three weeks," he said. "We decided we needed a change of scene, it was good to check up on our apartment and great to meet some friends for dinner now that New York City had open air dining. It felt very safe to be back in the city and it was great to dip our toes back into our old lives."

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