Financial services businesses are gaining the equivalent of an extra 22 working days a year from employees putting in longer shifts when they work from home, according to new research from Atlas Cloud.
The research reveals that by working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, instead of commuting to an office, employees in the sector are saving an average of 90 minutes per day – 6 minutes more than the UK average. Office workers say they are splitting this additional time between work and play by spending an average of 40 minutes extra on work per day and also gaining an additional 50 minutes per day leisure time.
Under the new national lockdown, employees are only allowed to travel to work if it is “unreasonable” to do their job from home. Previously, the UK Government had advised all employees to work from home wherever possible.
As the average month comprises 21 working days, businesses would on average gain almost an entire month’s worth of additional work per each employee that works from home between the first lockdown in March 2020, and March 2021.
Meanwhile, by working from home, employees would gain back the equivalent hours of 28 days of annual leave – potentially doubling the minimum amount of annual leave (not counting bank holidays) staff are legally entitled to each year.
The Decline of the Office
Over nine in ten people in financial services (90%) say they want the ability to work at least one day a week from home. However, the survey shows that the sector does not want to see the death of the office, pointing to a future of hybrid work after the pandemic crisis is over.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of office workers in financial services now want a return to the office in some form, although only 9% want to work from the office full-time. Under a third (28%) say they want to work from home full-time.
Almost two-thirds (63%) said that they would prefer hybrid-working – a blend of home, office, and remote work – after the pandemic.
By implementing flexible, hybrid working policies (a mixture of office-based and remote working) when it is safe to do so, finance businesses would gain additional working hours whilst providing employees with opportunities for much-needed social interaction.
Half of the respondents (51%) said they had used their additional leisure time to catch up on sleep, with 47% saying they had used it to spend more time with family, and 42% using it to do more exercise.
The ability to work remotely is also now a key consideration for 51% of job-seekers in the sector, a rise since before the lockdown when it was judged to be important by 31%.
This shift in the priorities of the industry’s workforce means that many finance and insurance companies now have to re-think their office-centric approach to work. Of those that didn’t work from home prior to lockdown, 69% said this was due to restrictive company policies.
Nine out of ten office workers in the sector (90%) said the coronavirus crisis has proven that they can work effectively from home.
The increasing proportion of people who say they can now work effectively from home is being influenced by companies that invested in digital transformation during the pandemic. Over two-thirds of employees working for financial services firms (69%) said their companies invested in new or updated technology to help enable digital transformation since the start of lockdown.
Pete Watson, CEO of Atlas Cloud, said: “The pandemic has transformed the way we think about the workplace, but it is by no means the death of the traditional office – it is the birth of hybrid-working.
“This research clearly demonstrates that the majority of people want to return to the office in some capacity after coronavirus, but more often than not this is to pursue a hybrid working model where they can work more flexibly.
“It is incredibly heartening to see some companies in the finance and insurance industries already putting in place pioneering plans to give staff the flexibility to work from the office, home, or remotely from another location when the pandemic is over. This is a really encouraging step towards a better future for employees and businesses and creating a better work-life balance for millions of people.”