Almost two-thirds of financial services professionals have increased their productivity while working from home during the coronavirus crisis.
A new report from lobby group Humans in Finance found that 63% of survey respondents were more productive working remotely, with 18% experiencing a decline. Some 70% said their work-life balance had improved, while 58% reported improved health and wellbeing.
The survey – Remote Working in Finance: COVID-19 & Beyond – quizzed more than 600 finance professionals in over 80 locations across 6 continents. In addition to the above findings, it reveals that:
- only 3% want to work entirely from the office post-COVID
- 95% believe employers should offer a range of remote / in-office workplace options
- 80% are excited by the prospect of working from any location they choose
- 83% believe remote working could reduce carbon emissions / improve the environment
- 75% say firms will struggle to attract and retain talent if they fail to adopt flexible working long term
- 55% would consider changing jobs if an alternative offered greater flexibility – for women under 40 with children, this proportion is 73%.
The report also highlights some of the negatives associated with remote working due to coronavirus, such as the blurring of work and personal life (cited by 67% of respondents) and weakened relationships with colleagues and client (62%).
But the overwhelming majority of those asked (86%) say these issues could be addressed if companies update their approach to work post-Covid.
Is the office dead?
So does this mean the death of the office, at least for the financial services sector? The survey says not, 90% of respondents indicating a preference for a hybrid model combining a mix of office-based and remote working.
The key factor is employee: 95% of those asked say employers should offer a variety of remote/in-office workplace options to suit different employees.
The survey also uncovered variations across cohorts, with women feeling more strongly about the negative ramifications for corporates that fail to adopt flexible working policies long term. In particular, 63% of women see reduced workforce diversity as a likely consequence of a failure to adapt compared to 42% of men.
Women under 40 years old with children was especially revealing – 73% of women in this age ground were likely to consider changing jobs if an alternative offered greater flexibility, almost twice the number of men (38% in this group).
Humans in Finance says its survey findings are a clear indication that companies which give employees greater flexibility will see higher output, create a more diverse workforce, and have healthier, happier and more committed employees.
‘Society is evolving’
Claude Stéphanie Ngningha, head of Africa investment banking at Citigroup, said: “As COVID-19 settles into our lives and social matters that have been swept under the rug for too long take centre stage globally, it is obvious we are evolving towards a societal model where choice and control over one’s life are gravitating back to the individual’s own hands.
“This survey has eloquently captured the pulse of nations. I truly believe that, by instating ‘work flexibility’ at the heart of company policies, the finance sector is gifted with a unique opportunity to re-invent itself and gain back some of the attractiveness it has lost over the years to, perhaps, more work-life balance-friendly sectors such as technology.”