The workplace policies of your employer might well be affecting how long you see yourself sticking around in your job, especially as economies open up again, new roles emerge and managers usher in back to work diktats that perhaps don’t sit quite right after a couple of productive years working from home.
In 2021, The Financial Times sampled companies’ “Flexibility Factor”, a measure of the extent to which businesses are allowing employees to decide where they work once pandemic conditions ease, and established some broad trends. In no real surprise, tech firms were offering remote and flexible working. But in terms of financial services companies, it won’t be a shock to discover they were office-centric and more rigid.
Fintech, sitting as it does between the two, was once the lean, young and alternative upstart in the financial services world. But now, things have matured in the sector and much of traditional banking has evolved into something rather more high-tech thanks to new technologies such as AI, cloud services and the blockchain.
Lines are blurring further between the two sectors as fintechs transform themselves into banks, and banks gobble up fintech companies to service the needs and expectations of their customers. So in a hybrid banking world, the future of work may well look a bit different, suggests McKinsey’s recent report on Reimagining the future of financial-services headquarters.
The report has ten pointers as to how work may change for the better in order to keep talent sticking around. Here are the highlights of just some of them.
Take from tech
You might be used to windowless offices; faceless acres of poorly-lit open plan space with inadequate meeting rooms added on as afterthoughts, but that could be set to change.
A feature of many of the world’s biggest tech companies are breakout spaces, plentiful meeting nooks and circulation areas. Designed for collaboration, these help you circulate with colleagues and promote easy accessibility.
Another learning from the tech giants is how space is organised. Key resources, such as food and access and egress points are in places where the maximum number of employees will run into each other.
“Multifunctional, agile teams should have spaces to innovate, advance strategic decisions, and solve challenging business problems quickly [..] The most innovative financial-services companies are already adopting flexible office designs to be more responsive to changing business needs,” McKinsey says.
Not everyone will go back into the office all of the time, some of the time, or even any of the time. That’s going to have to be okay for companies if they want to leverage top fintech talent. But what is clear now is the current way of doing meetings where some people are present and some are remote, isn’t ideal. McKinsey suggests that this will need to change and “a variety of rooms and spaces can be reconfigured around ultra-high-fidelity telepresence systems, 360˚ cameras, digital whiteboards, and mixed-reality environments.”
The metaverse could be one solution to the issue of multi-stakeholder, multi-location meetings, by leading to more immersive and dynamic workspaces. Already, vendor companies are staking their claim on the metaverse and offering packages to financial services businesses to help them develop their own tailored spaces.
Banking and financial services have traditionally been, well, traditional. But to succeed in the future, fintechs and the wider financial services industry know it’s important: in a recent PwC Global survey, 85% of financial services CEOs said promoting inclusion and diversity helps enhance business performance.
Joint research from McKinsey and LeanIn.org has discovered that while it is positive that just over half of entry-level financial services professionals are women, the percentage drops off a cliff as roles become more senior. Representation of Black, Latina and Asian women falls by 80% between the entry-level and the C-suite.
To respond, McKinsey’s Reimagining the future of financial-services headquarters report says, “The next generation of diversity initiatives will require broader focus on racial, cognitive, and disability equality and inclusion of colleagues from remote locations and a wider range of educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
About the author:
Kirstie works for our job board partner, Jobbio.
Based in Dublin, she has been a writer and editor across print and digital platforms for over 15 years.