The offset of COVID induced successive lockdowns has restricted the movement of the entire population as a precautionary measure against the pandemic. This has led to many companies adopting Work-From-Home (WFH) culture. It is not a new concept among the corporates, but now all sectors are forced to introduce such changes as social distancing is the new norm.
As per the guidelines issued by the government of India, those sectors operating under essential goods and services category are allowed to function in the public following social distancing norms. Financial services are categorized as one among the essentials, which has led the banks and financial institutions to develop Business Continuity Plans (BCP) to let as many of the employees work from home. However, due to the critical nature of work, certain operations like treasury, settlement, requires staff to be present at the front desk. Some of the challenges faced by the financial sector while adapting to WFH culture are as follows;
The financial services industry deals with money and assets of people, which establishes the need to meet in person from the client’s end. In the current scenario hosting such client-meetings are not possible and the customers cannot be attended face-to-face, which makes the customer-service professionals attend to them digitally. This means that they have to ensure the digital infrastructure to be aligned at both ends for smooth functioning.
Financial services operation requires stable connectivity with their company network and is in constant interaction with their team members. Many at times, depending on the residence location of the employee, it is difficult to get a high bandwidth resilience.
It is unlikely to be feasible to set-up digital infrastructure at the employee’s home, as the technology and the systems required are expensive, and may require additional facilities for maintenance. Some operations cannot be done from home such as payments, clearance, settlements, etc.
The finance industry is all about handling valuable and confidential information, thus security becomes a major concern. The employees will be given access to this confidential information, the chances of misuse are highly probable as non-employees also access the same system at home. Even the clients would not prefer it that way fearing cyber-risks.
Trusting one’s employees
Employers need to trust their employees’ effectiveness and efficiency while working from home. And trust that they will not misuse the confidential information shared by the clients including digital signatures. Believing in the capabilities of the employees is more important now as the WFH is gaining popularity, this is a possible way forward to new work culture.