Workers are reluctant to return to work after the freedom of working from home

  • Published: 19 May 2020
  • Author: Patrick Copping
  • Cateogry: General
Workers are reluctant to return to work after the freedom of working from home

Recent studies of returning financial workers across the globe has thrown up a significant shift in financial service’s employees attitude towards WFH. Up to 60% of workers believe they will be working from home for up to 2 days a week once firms return to some sort of normality. 50% of workers are expecting a policy of working from home and significantly improved flexibility from their employers.  This is in stark contrast to a study in 2019, where workers based in the City Mile, London were surveyed and only 8% expected to work from home frequently and questioned if their firm’s IT and Communications capabilities could allow for a productive and proficient environment for WFH.  There were also concerns as to the regulatory and compliance questions around employees WFH on a consistent basis.

Patrick Copping, MD at Conversant Technology, experts in Working From Home Technologies and Voice for Microsoft Teams, explores this new employee driven revolution.

Zoom is one of best publicised WFH tools that employees have been exposed to over the past few months. Will Zoom cut it in the long term?  Well in a word - No. Zoom is great for conference calls and Zoom Parties, however as a serious tool for sustained WFH, it throws up too many challenges. Security is the most widely publicised. Recent accounts of successful hacking and listening attempts has clouded the Zoom growth. Zoom has also grown its free platform exponentially, however the paid for “business version” has had a far slower adoption rate. I suspect that IT managers know too well the challenges that the platform brings and are reluctant to invest into the technology long term. The biggest challenge of Zoom are the fact it's just not joined up. Zoom is largely a conference call provider and that is only a very small part of the whole WFH piece.

There is a massive difference between occasional WFH and a concerted strategy to allow WFH for some or all employees. Taking the cultural challenges of WFH aside for now, the Technological challenges, even for small firms can be immense, particularly if approached on a piecemeal approach looking at individual technologies across multiple vendors. Individual pieces of technology (aka Zoom) are OK for occasional use, however they become clunky and the interoperability challenges become very evident over a sustained period.  WFH is not about forwarding to mobiles and occasional emails, it is about providing an environment that emulates the companies centralised situation exactly and does not prohibit effective communications both internally and externally across all communications mediums.

 

From a regulatory perspective. There are significant challenges to monitoring, recording, storing and securing employees communications and transactions when working from home. Calls and how calls are monitored and recorded for example becomes vastly more complicated as the definition of a “call” is now far wider. A call could be on a mobile, landline, forwarded from the office, escalated from a web chat or email, followed up with a conference call and information shared over chat engines. Using Zoom for example only copes with a conference call and that call is unlikely to be recorded at a level that satisfies regulatory compliance. It is likely that MiFiD II compliance will be reviewed to incorporate secure interaction recording which will incorporate all the above methods of communication. The headache for the IT team is how do you join up all these interactions, record then securely and store then to satisfy any regulatory challenge.

Briefly looking at the cultural challenges of WFH. Recruiting managers and HR departments also need to be aware of the changing attitudes employees have towards WFH. 70% of employees that were surveyed also stated that they expected new employers to have a coherent policy towards WFH. A coherent policy is largely reliant on investments into the most appropriate technology.

As the world economy emerges from the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely guaranteed that WFH will be the new normal and in many cases an integral part of the workplace. To make sure that you have a joined up WFH policy, with technology that can cope with employee, employer and regulatory expectations, contact Conversant Technology to understand how our technology will help.

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