In a world where currently there is a lot of negative press we’ve decided to focus on the potential positives that could come out of the COVID situation for the Legal, Audit, Risk & Compliance community.
Anyone that has worked with me knows I bang on about culture more than anything but it really is a key component for any job search, that part of the job that’s not on paper and you have to dig deeper for during an interview process.
With that in mind, after this crisis the fact is many firms will not change, it is their culture to be based in the City 5 days a week. However, there will be plenty of firms that will change how they treat their staff.
As a business many must now be reviewing their costs, with that office costs will be high on that list. If you have a 1000 staff do you now need a 1000 desk office? Can you cut that to a 500-600 desk office and now offer your staff 2 days working from home a week?
Worried about team morale & socialising? Spend some of those office savings to have quarterly off-sites for team building perhaps.
Certain functions of an Investment Business will never fully change for now as, for example, monitoring of the Front Office is made extremely challenging with everyone working from home. Access to personal phones & other devices which can normally be controlled in an office environment is being reviewed by many firms and a tough work around. Market Abuse & Surveillance teams will be even more crucial to many businesses going forward.
Work Life Balance
The COVID situation has meant a lot of firms have had to scramble to get 100% of their workforce set up working from home. I think a lot of employees will admit they would not want to work from home 5 days a week however this time has hopefully proven many doubters wrong in that their businesses can still function fairly smoothly without everyone having to be in the office.
If firms did take this more flexible working approach, whatever the size of their business, the work life balance they can offer to their employees can make a massive difference to a work force given the right support to work both in the office & from home.
As an individual the changes & potential savings could be considerable;
- Season ticket costs – would you need a season ticket if only travelling in 3 days a week?
- Daily breakfast, lunch & coffee costs
- Time with the family – less time commuting, more time with family & friends locally
- Location – will people consider moving further from London if they did not have to commute so often? I am sure many based in flats during lockdown will be weighing up moving to a house with a garden if they could afford it. We all know you tend to get more bang for your buck in the housing market the further from Central London you go.
Events such as COVID affect everyone and with that many people may sit back and weigh up their lifestyle options.
Some individuals may well be focusing a lot more on their exit from the City to spend more time with their nearest & dearest. With this, the likes of job shares, part-time roles & even early retirement for many may be higher on the agenda now. Firms may also be more open to this style of flexible working too.
Adapting to Change
With these potential internal changes to a business there will be requirements for upgrades to IT systems to better support remote working. Some firms will be tearing up their BCP plans and starting again given some of the struggles I have already heard.
With this there will be a requirement for improved reporting to monitor the success of remote working. KPI’s will be essential for a business to monitor the success of these changes to show that productivity has not dropped and in many cases it may have actually improved.
I cannot say whether these changes will happen, however my view is there can always come a positive from a negative situation. One thing is already guaranteed, change is here and it’s happening, those that adapt the fastest will thrive when we are out of the other side of this.
Chris Clarke – Managing Director & Founding Partner
0203 693 7251