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Employers in Financial Services Fear Loss of Culture With Office Return

Survey finds majority of employers confident for a 2021 return to the office, however nearly two thirds concerned increased flexible working will negatively impact culture and office energy

Over 90 employers across Ireland and the UK were surveyed by specialist financial services recruitment firm, Coopman Search and Selection. With the aim of identifying how companies will attract and retain talent post pandemic, 96% stated that they believe offering opportunities like remote or hybrid working will act as a competitive advantage. While 9 in 10 employers plan to make increased flexible working arrangements available to employees on returning to the office, 64% fear this may result in a loss of culture and office energy.

Once a company is aware of the potential risk to its culture, proactive measures can be taken”, said Director and Co-Founder, Andrew Murphy. “Structured flexibility may be a good option for companies that plan to operate hybrid working models, whereby there are certain mandatory office-based days for teams or departments to collaborate in person. Managers will also play a key role in driving culture and employee engagement, so companies should consider the provision of additional training, specifically in relation to effectively managing remote and hybrid working teams.”

Employers were also asked about their expectations for returning to the office, as well as the availability and accessibility of flexible working for employees prior to and post Covid-19.

  • Of the employers that are planning to return to the office, 67% feel confident it will happen this year, however transitioning employees back to the office and managing their expectations are areas of concern.
  • 54% of employers expect to adjust their office space post Covid-19, with nearly a third planning to downsize, or offer employees access to digital or remote working hubs.
  • Nearly half of employers will not require employees to be vaccinated to return to the office, 29% will require vaccinations and 24% stated it is not applicable to their business.
  • 89% of employers will offer hybrid working post pandemic, up from 26% prior to the pandemic, while 21% will offer full-time remote working, up from 15%.
  • 88% of employers will offer employees equal access to flexible working opportunities, up from 75% pre pandemic. Role dependency was a common reason cited for preventing equal access.

We engage with professionals right across financial services on a daily basis in both Ireland and the UK, and it is becoming very evident that access to flexible working arrangements will be a deciding factor for many individuals when accepting a new role”, added Andrew. “With the inevitable revival ¬of the employment market and the appetite for increased flexible working opportunities, employers may need to look at ways in which they can differentiate themselves. For example, they might offer flexible benefits such as healthcare screens and advanced medical plans, wellbeing and employee assistance programmes, remote expenses and childcare contributions, or even gym or exercise class memberships, to accommodate new working models.”