The pandemic has changed the way we work forever forcing companies in the investment sector to reconsider their approach to work and how they support their employees. Now is the time for firms to measure the impact of hybrid working and the potential opportunities available to companies when setting up their long term work plans. In particular, considering the key questions and learnings the pandemic has taught us regarding mental health. There are three potential work setups for investment firms to consider:
Office - All employees will be asked to return to their office space and the company will be a predominantly office-based organisation. This is something that has been implemented by Goldman Sachs for example.
Remote - Employees will remain fully remote and the requirement for an office space will no longer be there. Some companies are identifying as ‘remote-first’, including Coinbase.
Hybrid - Employees have the option to work in both the office and remotely. Deutsche Bank is one example of a company that has embraced this set-up.
Whilst companies grapple with this choice, many are opting to be hybrid. This presents new challenges for work culture and mental health within the financial services sector. A new era of work for investment firms – culture can create 3x return to shareholders. According to McKinsey, ‘the pandemic has transformed the way we work’ and now a ‘hybrid future is imminent’. In an interview piece, the research agency details the importance of nurturing culture in the new era of work, stating that ‘when we think about culture, we think about a set of behaviours and the underlying thoughts and attitudes that shape how people work every day. Within their research, the firm details that companies who have a healthy work culture, are the ones who enjoy three times greater total returns to shareholders while harnessing positive relationship with one another and their role within the business. Compellingly, McKinsey also shared that 70% of ‘businesses that don't take care of their company culture in the new era of work’ fail due to people and culture-related challenges. This is a sobering statistic for companies, especially those within the investment space. Before the pandemic, some company cultures were entirely task-driven. Companies are now structuring toward a new company culture, prioritising their people. The hybrid format presents an opportunity to remake culture within the investment sector. However, when it comes to reviewing culture there are several questions that investment firms should be considering. For instance, what is their policy on mental health and how can they support employees to ensure this is robust in a hybrid model? How do companies empower teams to work together without the luxury of face to face conversations? How do firms work upon relationships between their sales teams with clients, especially when it comes to investor relations. Finally, firms should be asking how the role of technology can empower their new work set up, whilst also considering cybersecurity measures. The importance of mental health in the workplace Mental Health issues are the number one cause of sickness in the UK; coupled with the fact only 2% of employees are prepared to talk to HR about their mental health, an open and inclusive environment is no longer a nice to have but a must. Starting a conversation, spotting the signs and deploying comprehensive wellbeing policies, critically, embraced by top-level management are some of the ingredients required to foster an employee-focused wellbeing culture. The notion of wellbeing at work is broader in scope than just physical and mental health. It refers to a general feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment in and through work, which goes beyond the absence of harm to health. Wellbeing emphasises the personal and collective perception of situations and constraints in the professional sphere. The stakes of employee wellbeing are crucial to their overall business performance and success. Happy and healthy employees create the foundation for thriving business and strong results. This goes hand-in-hand with successfully structuring a team, retaining assets or even reducing staff turnover.