How to improve your mental well-being while working from home



In our Zoom for Thought on April 20th, 2021, UCD Discovery Director Prof. Patricia Maguire spoke to Olivia Maguire, Portfolio Manager in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) Global Liquidity team in London, about “How to improve your mental wellbeing while working from home”. In case you missed it, here are our Top Takeaway Thoughts.



The (award-winning) Role


Olivia is a money market portfolio manager - which she describes as being “on the lower-risk end of the scale” - for J.P. Morgan Asset Management in London. She manages some $45 billion worth of assets daily. With a degree in Commerce from UCD and a Master’s in Business Studies from UCD Smurfit School, Olivia was named #16 in Yahoo Finance’s HERoes top 100 female future leaders 2020, Women in Finance “Wealth Manager of the Year” 2020 and Women in Investment “Fund Manager of the Year” 2019.


Volunteer for Wellbeing


Olivia has found “a strong correlation” between her psychological wellbeing and volunteering, which she first began doing, aged 15, teaching life-saving in her local swimming pool in Dublin. She chaired the volunteer leadership group at JP Morgan Asset Management for a decade, organising a volunteer week in 2019 that saw 500 employees contributing 2000 volunteer hours. This programme moved online during the pandemic. In 2019 Olivia spent three weeks working with the Detroit non-profit Focus: HOPE, which was set up after the 1958 Detroit riots to fight injustice and racism. In 2020 she worked on a virtual JPMorgan program with Dublin charity Northside Partnership on their Preparing for Life programme. This is a prevention and early intervention project aimed at children in their first five years of life. “It's a great programme and it's quite closely related to UCD because Dr Orla Doyle from the Geary Institute studied the impacts of that programme. It was really great to see the link coming together between my hometown, my alma mater and my work.”

Women’s Financial Wellbeing


UK companies with at least 250 employees are legally required to report their pay gap data. This has “brought out some interesting results and I think it's not just the gender pay gap but also the gender pension gap that we need to worry about”. The wealth disparity between the sexes has grown in the pandemic. “The increase in stock prices and the rally in equities, which has been facilitated, to some degree, by the large amount of quantitative easing we've seen globally, has […] perhaps widened the pension gap because equities are on the riskier end of investments and women do tend to be a little bit more risk averse in their investments.” Olivia advises women to “start saving as early as possible”. Getting sound financial advice is “key to keeping your wealth in good shape for retirement”.




Olivia thinks there is “still a place for the office”, particularly for younger staff who may not have the necessary facilities at home and who “enjoy the social aspect” of office life. She also believes that learning by osmosis is important. “A lot of your learning happens by hearing other people talking and that's missing when you are at home and isolated.” But she predicts a “hybrid model” going forward, with companies being more flexible with employees about where they work and a mix between office- and home-working. “I think that in the future employees will actually look for that flexibility when they're choosing roles and choosing new jobs, so it's quite important to have that going forward.” The onus will fall on managers to “ensure that everybody is included”. She does not believe working from home will impact on opportunities to advance your career: “I don't think that there's any less reason to be promoted because of working from home.” 


Take Your Holidays


Olivia encourages everyone to take all the holidays from work that they are entitled to. “One thing my boss said that has stayed in my mind is that in twenty years you won't remember those extra days that you worked in the office that you didn't take as holidays, but you will remember those holidays that you did take or the time you spent with your family, or that school sports day that you went to. So I think it's really important to prioritise things like that and I think that with this new flexible working arena that we have, that should be more possible.”

This article was brought to you by UCD Institute for Discovery - fuelling interdisciplinary collaboration. 


 Olivia Maguire is a Portfolio Manager in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) Global Liquidity team in London, focusing primarily on sterling-denominated money market funds and short-term fixed income separate accounts. 

 Olivia moved to London from Dublin in 1998 after completing a Bachelor of Commerce at University College Dublin and a Master of Business Studies at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and is a CFA charter holder.  

 Olivia chairs the Institutional Money Market Funds Association (IMMFA) Investment Committee and is a current member of the Bank of England Money Market Committee and the Bank of England SONIA Stakeholder Advisory Group.  She also chairs the CFA UK Inclusion & Diversity Committee and is a member of the JPMAM Philanthropy & Employee Engagement Committee.

 She was named #16 in Yahoo Finance’s HERoes top 100 female future leaders 2020, Women in Finance “Wealth Manager of the Year” 2020 and Women in Investment “Fund Manager of the Year” 2019.