The outbreak of coronavirus and the extended nationwide lockdown has halted several economic activities and halted the revenue source. To maintain the momentum and keep the economy running, certain industries have adopted the model of Work From Home. However, this model has some challenges for few sections of the industries including financial segment, Rana Biswas, Sales Director – APAC, Equisoft shares some significant tricks and techniques to make this period fruitful.
What are the challenges of work from home for the financial sector?
- In these trying times when all of us are under lock-down and have to work from home, the biggest challenge is to have seamless connectivity from our official laptops/hand-held device to ensure we are connected through Webinars/Skype, etc. with our extended team, other departmental colleagues and customers to fulfil our routine activities and execute our deliverables on agreed timeline. Financial Services is largely dependent on face-to-face interactions with stakeholders and customers for effective decision-making and execution and hence connectivity becomes critical.
- The second challenge is of cybersecurity and the need to have a robust data security framework to protect sensitive company and Personal Identifiable Customer Data when employees are working remotely and are not on the office LAN. Though most companies have a robust security framework, the present situation will test its efficacy to the hilt and I hope we win this battle.
- Also consider how you will remove roadblocks for all your staff. How will essential personnel access all the data they need to continue to perform? How will you handle manual tasks – even simple things like mail, cheque creation, etc.
- Now more than ever your customers need your support. So, think about how you will you help your sales force maintain relationships and over ever better service in a time of physical distancing? Do they need guidelines from you on how to proceed with prospects and clients? Would communications for their clients, training, technology be useful?
- Last, but not the least is not only to manage and maintain one’s productivity but also of the team as well. How does one monitor that effectively? The same principle of leading by example applies to the present situation more than when one works out of office. You need to constantly motivate and help your team in making them sail through this tough time. You need to give your team adequate authority along with responsibility for them to take decisions; else the system will struggle with execution delays.
How to make WFH a productive task?
- The first rule is to empower your team and trust them to take decisions on your behalf; it motivates them and thereby lifts their productivity. To my mind this is important since it is next to impossible for you to monitor your team activity real-time when they work from home.
- Secondly, one should fully leverage on digital workflows to check, validate and approve transactions as much as possible to reduce manual interventions. My sense is that the BCP plans implemented by the companies have already triggered this.
- This is also a time to engage the team more frequently and share suggestions, best practices amongst team members to fast-track critical deliverables.
- It’s a very good idea to continue/Implement regular performance check-ins. Take a few minutes on a regular basis to individually and as a team review project status and KPIs.
- Your team members are also a great source of knowledge and inspiration. Establish productivity channels where team members can collect and review best practices and ideas for success in the WFH environment.
Best Investment option during coronavirus outbreak
To my mind, one should be very careful and prudent to make investment decisions in such times. At times like this it is especially important for investors to avoid making emotional decisions. The best course of action is to consult with their financial advisor. Organizations can support their advisors in helping investors by ensuring they have the technology they need to easily and effectively analyse their client’s needs, risk profiles and portfolios remotely.
Dos & Don’ts during the quarantine
Exercise regularly and stay fit. Try to follow your regular routine like you are in office; that will help you to settle the rhythm. Take regular tea-breaks and take short walks (in your room/balcony) to relax as you do in the office. Don’t compromise on your lunch breaks at all.
Don’t get worked up on deliverables and presume that you will not be able to meet deadlines since you are working remotely. Stay positive and focus on your one task at a time. It is not prudent to multitask unless absolutely necessary. Stay positive and try and catch up with your colleagues over phone and discuss something new that you have done at home (cooking etc. and not COVID 19!).
And, when it comes to connecting with clients during times like this, keep in mind that they probably need more communication and support than ever. Look for ways to ease their minds and provide them with value. You’ll be remembered as true partner who found ways to help