Post-COVID-19 working practices

13th July 2020

After over a hundred days in lockdown, and with the realisation that the current situation is set to endure, thoughts are increasingly turning to how we will adjust to a ‘new normal’ in the workplace.

AIMA have recently released the results of their pulse survey on returning to work following the COVID-19 pandemic, which is available here. Joshua Whittaker, haysmacintyre Supervisor, shares the key findings from the survey results below:

92% of employees surveyed are working entirely or mostly from home, presenting challenges from an internal communications and logistical perspective. However, two thirds of participants expect to adopt a more liberal working from home policy in the future after overcoming the challenges of internal communications and logistics during the lockdown. This mirrors the trends that are occurring across the global economy with employees taking a more flexible approach to working that is likely to represent a permanent shift. Based on our experience, investment firms were amongst the first to move to remote working, and many have no plans to return to the office until 2021.

One of the largest concerns around returning to work is the need to travel and commute on public transport, particularly when considering a second wave, however, this would be alleviated by a change in a firm’s approach to working from home and flexible working.

From a global perspective, 75% of participants do not expect to be able to travel overseas for the rest of the year. This highlights potential difficulties for capital raises and fund launches in connecting with investors across the globe. Although there has been significant progression in recent years from a technical perspective, and there is now industry acceptance of tools such as Teams, Zoom and Skype, anecdotally firms feel that they are unable to undertake IR activity or undergo ODD to the same degree as in person. We have heard mixed views as to the appetite for international travel to be kickstarted for these purposes.

Interestingly, the results vary significantly based on location, with 45% of APAC responders expecting to be able to travel overseas compared to just 23% and 18% for EMEA and the Americas respectively. This highlights the difference in confidence globally with the APAC region now further along in its response to the pandemic and the epicentre of the virus now centred in the Americas.

This contrast is further emphasised in response to the question of when respondents expect to be able to visit investors/clients. 36% of responders in APAC expect to be able to visit investors during 2020 compared to just 13% and 17% for EMEA and the Americas.

It is evident that investment firms will be adopting a cautious approach on returning to work with employees being encouraged to work flexibly for the foreseeable future. The developments made in technology mean the industry is less likely to be dependent on international travel as it has been in the past, though a profound transformation in this regard is unlikely.

For further information, please contact Melanie Pittas, Partner, or your usual haysmacintyre contact.

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