Now that the financial services industry has adapted to the initial shock of the shift to remote work with entire teams being separated virtually overnight, company leaders are increasingly asking themselves how to address culture challenges moving forward: Will remote work, in some form, be the “new normal”? If so, how can we help employees remain productive while supporting a healthy work-life balance? How can we maintain our company culture while physically separated?
We know that the virtual workplace, in some form, is likely here to stay. Redtail’s Working Remotely 2020 advisor survey revealed that 74.3% of respondents did not experience an interruption of their revenue stream due to working from home (nearly 5% actually increased their revenue), and 64.7% of respondents stated they would be working from home at least once a week in the future. Additionally, 86% of respondents said they were somewhat to very prepared for a seamless transition because of technology already in place.
But despite the quick adoption and readiness that firms displayed when shifting to work-from-home environments, there have been emotional drawbacks for those missing in-person meetings and conversations with co-workers. Almost half (43.5%) experienced social isolation or a disconnect from co-workers — while the majority of respondents (61.5%) said they do not use an internal communications platform, further limiting opportunities to keep in touch with colleagues.
One sometimes-overlooked solution for addressing these culture and work-life balance concerns is further exploration and application of the technologies you’re already invested in or are considering. By making effective use of available technologies, industry leaders can maintain their company culture and combat social isolation, while empowering both productive and balanced work-from-home environments for their employees. Some of those technological approaches might include:
1. Seeking out opportunities for technology-enabled connections after hours.
Yes, one of the issues I’m raising here is how we help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. That said, culture and camaraderie are often strengthened through after-hours activities as well, be it through shared volunteer events, happy hours or birthday celebrations.
At Redtail, since the pandemic began, we’ve hosted virtual meeting events for trivia and karaoke nights, pizza parties and holiday get-togethers. Using a mix of available technologies, we’ve given our employees the opportunity to “meet” outside of work and maintain connection with one another in a hundred different virtual ways. Attendance is in no way required, but it’s been exciting to see how many our employees choose to spend time together outside of regular working hours.