FS employees 'working extra month' during lockdown

UK financial services businesses are gaining 22 days a year from employees working longer hours while remote, according to new research from Atlas Cloud.

The research said the sector's employees are saving an average of 90 minutes per day, spending 40 minutes extra on work and 50 minutes on leisure time.

51 per cent said they used this additional leisure time to catch up on sleep, while 47 per cent said they had used it to spend time with family and 42 per cent used it to do exercise.

The report claimed that as the average month has 21 working days, businesses will gain an entire month’s worth of additional work per employee between the first lockdown in March 2020 and March 2021.

It followed that these employees would gain back the equivalent of 28 days annual leave, double the minimum amount not counting bank holidays, that staff are entitled to each year.

Looking forward the survey said that over 90 per cent of financial services employees want the ability to work from home at least one day a week.

However, the sector does not want the "death of the office" and 63 per cent of workers instead support a hybrid-working based approach - blending home, office, and remote work – post-pandemic.

Though 72 per cent of financial services workers want some return to the office, only 9 per cent want to work there full-time, while 28 per cent say they want to work remotely full-time.

The report also highlighted remote working options have become increasingly important for recruitment, finding they are now a key consideration for 51 per cent of financial services jobseekers, a rise from 31 per cent pre-lockdown.

Other claims included that 90 per cent of financial sector employees said the pandemic has proven that they can work effectively from home, and that the parent companies of 69 per cent of employees had invested in new or updated technology to enable digital transformation since lockdown began.

Pete Watson, chief executive at Alas Cloud, said: “Working from home can be a win-win for employers and employees as the lack of commuting gives people more time to spend working and more leisure time.”

He added: “However, working only from home is isolating for the majority of people, and unsustainable in the long-term. People miss face-to-face social interaction and for a significant number of people it is affecting their mental health.”

“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.

He concluded: “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.

“Companies need to think about how to achieve this, particularly when it comes to implementing digital transformation, if they want to avoid being left behind as the country aims for a new phase of hybrid working.

“Instead of enforcing strict policies to work from home or from the office, employers need to build agility and flexibility into their policies, enabling hybrid-working in order to boost efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction, as well as attracting and retaining the best talent."

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