The COVID-19 pandemic led to nationwide lockdowns and social distancing measures which resulted in people being unable to work in the traditional work environment. Now that most lockdown restrictions worldwide are slowly being eased, we can look at how this has impacted the way people work.
Investment firms, just like other companies, had to adapt to remote work during lockdown. Although remote working was necessary during lockdown, it’s unlikely that most firms will continue working remotely post-COVID.
But for some industries, the lockdown was a blessing in disguise. There were plenty of benefits from remote working with an increase in productivity levels. This has introduced a lot of companies to combine working at the office and working from home. This form of hybrid work has become increasingly common.
This type of work is not possible in all industries. It wouldn’t make sense for a waiter to be working remotely! But in the financial sector, employees can complete a lot of work remotely. This has led to investment firms taking advantage of this.
Instead of the traditional way of commuting to work five days a week and having weekends off, some firms are reducing the number of days employees work in the office. Some companies permit their employees to work in the office two-three days per week while working from home on the other days.
This hybrid work environment has become more popular over the past few months. To understand how investment firms have adapted to the hybrid working environment, you need to first understand how it works and how firms are changing their mode of work to adjust.
Benefits of a Hybrid Work Environment
One of the biggest costs incurred by investment firms is paying for office spaces. Rent and maintenance costs can be pretty high, especially if your office is in the middle of a major city like London.
Large investment firms with hundreds of employees incur even greater expenses. If all their employees work in-person, then firms will need either one spacious office space or multiple small offices – which can get very expensive.
Incorporating a hybrid working environment means that fewer people will work in-person. Therefore, there is a reduced need for office space – which leads to lower business expenses.
Before lockdown, when remote working was made popular, many people believed that employees would have lower productivity in a hybrid work environment. Giving employees the ability to choose when they work may result in them just working fewer hours and finishing less work.
However, when firms put remote working into practice, this was not entirely the case. Most firms reported either an increase in productivity or the same level of productivity.
This makes sense since employees can structure their time wisely when they’re working at home. Furthermore, they don’t have to worry about long commutes or distractions that they often experience in the workplace.
Being able to work on your own terms has proved to have a significant impact on an employee’s happiness. Employees working in a hybrid work environment are generally happier than employees who have continued to work in the traditional office environment.
For most people working at home, they are more comfortable and have experienced the psychological benefits. Improved wellbeing also improves productivity which is another direct benefit to the firms in the long-run.
Fewer Safety Concerns
Although the intensity of the COVID-10 pandemic is decreasing worldwide due to mass vaccination, some employees may still have concerns about using public transport and having to spend long hours in an office with others. This may not be ideal, especially if you’re particularly vulnerable to COVID.
By promoting a hybrid working environment, firms allow employees to keep working and feel safe doing so.
How Investment Firms Have Changed
One significant adaptation that investment firms are making is the way they use office space. There’s no point in renting a large office if you’re not using it! For the benefits of lower costs, firms are offloading their office spaces to decrease rent costs.
Communication is also changing. When employees were always travelling to work, online communication wasn’t so necessary. They were already communicating effectively in the workplace.
In the hybrid model, online communication is needed as employees are spending fewer days in the workplace. Companies are having to promote group chats where their employees can communicate more effectively.
Though these changes can work well, we wanted to hear from employees in investment firms to shed light on what they think of this new hybrid work environment. Gary Jones, from Queensgate Investments shared his thoughts on this.
Jones states, “Covid-19 is still infecting a lot of people every day and some employers are already making it clear the flexible working arrangement is here to stay. Firms are therefore worried that if they force people to come back to work, they might lose their talent to competitor firms who have a more flexible approach.”
This is one of the reasons why hybrid work is becoming more popularized because firms can risk losing their employees if they don’t have flexible policies. Jones continues, “In our sector we work very long hours and from a personal point of view, having the ability to work from home now and then is helpful from a work/life balance point of view.”
Investment firms are adapting well to the hybrid work environment and employers are aware of the importance of flexibility. Employees themselves are seeing the benefits of this new mode of work and it looks like hybrid work is here to stay.
Interesting related article: “What is Teleworking?“