Finance leaders must consider the inclusive potential of remote work

A cartoon of a woman working from home as her children play nearby.

A few years ago, a new café opened in Japan consisting entirely of robot staff (1). An unusual idea, but it went beyond being a simple gimmick. Each robot waiter was being remotely piloted by people with paralysis, allowing them to directly speak with customers to take orders and serve them their drinks. Suddenly through this remote working innovation, a whole new sector of talent was able to connect with the working world in a way they previously never could.

The finance sector’s struggle for diversity

The topic of diversity in the finance sector has become increasingly important in the last year. It has been noted that the finance sector is one of the least diverse industries, leading to a board-level industry initiative amongst finance leaders to correct this. That’s great! So, what do we do about it? Well, there are lots of things that can and should be done, but we have to be open minded with our approach.

Open minded is perhaps not how I would describe Goldman Sachs’ boss David Solomon’s view of remote working as an “aberration” back in February (2). Though he did have some legitimate concerns that remote work would not fit with the company culture (thankfully, we have some solutions on that front too) his response seems not to consider the potential opportunity remote working provides in tackling one of the finance sector’s biggest issues; diversity.

Three Ways Remote Working could pave the way for Diversity

1.You don't have to live in London to get your foot in the door

I’m sure I won’t be blowing anyone’s minds when I note that London is an exceptionally expensive place to live. In fact, even the southeast of England as a whole is expensive, with a survey from Savills finding that the value of properties in said region is more than that of Wales, the Midlands and Yorkshire combined (3).

Given that as much as 40% of Black Brits experience income poverty, in contrast to 20% of white Brits, it is difficult for many to move into these expensive areas where the roles are often based, and in turn where the recruitment search is focussed.

Through remote working however, this limitation is removed. Just as the job can be done from anywhere, theoretically you can begin to draw your candidates from anywhere. By casting a wider net, you can significantly increase the opportunity to boost diversity in your workforce (5).

2.You can provide more flexibility for your prospective employees

To quote our CEO Paris Petgrave; “enabling flexibility from the safety perspective – but also from working in the new normal – is going to open up the labour market to whole hosts of new talent that weren’t able to work before”.

Women with children at home, an often-underrepresented demographic in the workplace, will have far more time to devote to work should they have the flexibility of tailoring their working hours around their day. PwC was recently applauded for its decision to allow workers to choose their own working hours, a move that is being closely watched by the rest of the corporate world (6).

3.It makes the workplace inclusive to those facing physical & mental barriers to office work

As you probably guessed I was alluding to in my initial anecdote, Remote Working can open the door to people who previously would have been unable to go to work. Disabled individuals, who often face difficulty commuting through streets and buildings just not designed with them in mind, can offer their equally exceptional talent to your business.

Those on the spectrum, who often struggle in bustling environments such as offices due to sensory overstimulation, could work from home in a more comfortable setting. Did you know only as few as 1 in 5 autistic adults are in any kind of employment (7)? Steps like these could make a huge difference in overcoming these societal issues!

So, should we all just stick with Remote Working?

There are a lot of benefits to Remote Working, absolutely. But it’s also not going to work for everyone. We’ve dealt with stats and numbers a lot here, but nobody is going to know what works for your employees better than your employees. Instead, take a hybrid approach; understand the individual needs of your employees and try to create a workplace that will have everyone working at their happiest, and by extension their best.

However, candid conversations like these with your employees can often be a little difficult to have. That’s where We Love Work comes in. Using our comprehensive tool, We Love Work can allow you to directly connect with your employees to gauge their views on issues like these through anonymised surveys and collate the data to gain a proper understanding of the team’s views.

Interested in finding out more? Head to www.welovework.com to sign up for a demo or email us for more info.

 

References

  1. Japan's Robot Café
  2. Goldmann Sachs Boss calls Remote Working an 'Abberation'
  3. The London Property Market
  4. Poverty Rates Among Ethnic Groups in Britain
  5. Diverse Hire Recruitment Strategies
  6. PwC flexible working hours change
  7. Statistics on the autism employment gap

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