Interview: James Caan

Monaco Life Publisher Eric Brundage spoke to entrepreneur and television personality James Caan CBE about maintaining a “normal” working routine during lockdown.
James Caan is perhaps best known as a former investor on the BBC television programme Dragons’ Den. A former Monaco resident, he initially achieved success in the recruitment industry before co-founding the head-hunting firm Humana International. James Caan is the current CEO of UK-based private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw.
He has written several books on business and his life and has become the 7th most followed person on LinkedIn, surpassing former US president Barack Obama. Caan regularly blogs about career advice and provides tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Monaco Life: How do you think the world will emerge from the Covid-19 crisis?
James Caan: This is not the first global crisis that we have experienced, and it will not be the last. As an optimist, I believe that we will come out the other end. If history is anything to go by, when we do recover from this, we will bounce back quickly. When we bounce back, there will be an opportunity for businesses, particularly those that act decisively now, to take full advantage of the recovery. For now, though, the challenge is to weather the storm.
How are you managing the crisis?
Most of my workforce are currently working from home. With the aid of video technology, we’re able to continue our business by being able to present candidates to clients via video. Software can play a crucial role in the recreation of the office environment, and using it effectively is more important now than ever.
Do you have any advice for business people?
Using technologies like Zoom, where you have group functions so you can do daily meetings with the whole team of up to 10 plus people, is great for team morale and to keep up team motivation.
Try to ensure that both you and your team structure your days as close as possible as before, as we all work much better when we have a structure. Use WhatsApp to create groups with all the specific teams in your business so you can communicate as one, just like you would have when you were all in the office together. Collaboration between employees is key in the functioning of a successful business, and it is important that this doesn’t cease as I am a big advocate for keeping as many avenues of communication open as possible.
So, the idea is to try and maintain a “normal” workday as much as possible?
Getting dressed into some designated ‘working’ clothes is a great way of ensuring you’re able to do your job as you normally would in an office. The key to ensuring a level of productivity in the home is to create a routine and structure that you force yourself to stick to; this means no working in pyjamas!
And make sure you take regular scheduled breaks throughout your day. Fresh air (if you can) and leaving your workspace are good for your brain and body. A quick break in focus allows you to reset and return more productive.
James Caan has agreed to answer our reader’s questions about business. Simply send an email to with the subject line ‘James Caan’ and we will have James address your questions in our next article.