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Live More Offline explores innovative working patterns and digital wellbeing in the financial services sector

Live More Offline is a digital wellbeing consultancy based out of Leeds that helps organisations empower their employees with the strategies and tools to transform digital habits in pursuit of experiencing better wellbeing, productivity and balance in their lives.

We were over the moon to feature Alex La Via, CEO of Live More Offline at our Leeds and Newcastle Conference this year, as the concept of their work tackles a pertinent and important issue, specifically in Financial Services, Tech and FinTech.

We’re now delighted to share some thought-leadership from Live More Offline, in which they spotlight the evolving nature of hybrid work and the significance of digital wellbeing in aspects of leadership, EDI and talent retention within the financial services and FinTech sectors.

Live More Offline

As hybrid becomes the new normal in offices around the globe, it has been alternately blamed for over-indulging workers and praised for setting them free. Nowhere is the debate about hybrid working hotter than in the financial services.

High profile hold outs against the adoption of hybrid working from the likes of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan and David Solomon, CEO of Goldman-Sacs give the impression of a traditionalist sector that is stubbornly resisting the future of work. However, these headlines obscure the overwhelming adoption of hybrid and flexible working patterns in financial services.

The new normal of hybrid

Scoop’s March 2023 survey shows just how prevalent hybrid working has become throughout the financial sector, with only 20% of firms requiring full-time presence in the office. This is backed up by WFH Research’s surveys of US residents that found finance and insurance have the second highest proportion of hybrid working in the economy.

Although structured hybrid has become the single most common working pattern, fintechs and SMEs operate much more like other technology startups with a very high proportion of fully flexible working patterns.

This data on working patterns shows just how much fintechs diverge from industry norms but as we’ll see, larger companies can be just as innovative when it comes to their working cultures.

Workplace innovation

The exceptional prevalence of hybrid work challenges the stereotype that banks and insurance firms are slow to change, when in fact they have proved among the fastest in adopting digital working. As WFH Research’s surveys have shown, hybrid had already stabilised as the dominant working pattern in financial services by Q4 2021, a big change from before the pandemic.

Evolving workplace culture in fintech and the talent shortage

Fintech has had a dizzying ascent, attaining mass market adoption and becoming a staple of financial services in a decade. During this time, the industry was slighted by reports of toxic cultures and a ‘growth at all costs’ mentality among some of their rising stars. However, as the growing pains of the sector have eased, fintechs have refocussed on employee experience. Fintechs and challenger banks are agile in responding to worker desires for location flexible working and are also readily able to trial innovative working patterns. A good example is Atom Bank’s trial of a 4-day working week, which Atom Bank credits with improved productivity and customer satisfaction.

The perception that the industry has turned a corner is important for the quest for talent. Investment in fintech has reached its zenith during a tight labour market and demand for skills remains at an all-time high. Fintech has gained a solid reputation for high salaries but prospective jobseekers are looking for much more than just money. Glassdoor’s research shows that culture and values are still the primary contributors to employee satisfaction, even after the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Employees have only become more belief-driven and likely to change jobs based on corporate values, a challenge for fintechs that were used to competing for talent mainly on compensation. For fintechs, these corporate values include wellbeing, diversity and seeing employees as stakeholders. Digital wellbeing is absolutely a priority for new entrants to the industry, who want to know that they won’t experience digital overload, burnout and constant connection in their future workplace.

Gender inclusion in fintech

The Great Resignation has obliged companies to broaden their talent pools and make belated efforts to address diversity and inclusion, particularly with respect to gender. In the UK, gender representation in fintech resembles that of the technology sector and trails behind other financial institutions. While 58% of recent boardroom appointments within UK financial services were female, women account for only one in ten of fintech board members.

At 22%, the gender pay gap in fintech is also higher than the UK average of 15%. This matters because inclusive cultures have far happier people who are motivated to give their best. As noted by the Fintech Diversity Radar, gender diverse companies have a stronger brand, are better at retaining talent, are more understanding of their customer base and foster more collaborative, creative and meritocratic workplaces.

Fintech has a long way to go in improving gender inclusion but there are signs for hope. EY’s survey of female employees at fintechs found that 76% considered their workplaces inclusive and 56% felt they were diverse. While still at a low level, the proportion of female founders of new fintech startups is increasing.

EY and Innovate Finance have called for better support for female founders, more inclusive and flexible working environments and a focus on reducing gender disparity through review of recruitment processes, mentoring and earlier engagement that begins in schools.

As so much of work in this industry happens in online, it’s important to recognise how much digital wellbeing affects inclusivity. Meritocratic collaboration spaces that make achievements visible and improve virtual connections within teams, location flexibility to provides better access for mentoring and active sponsoring mentees on digital platforms are examples of how a well-designed digital culture goes a long way to promoting gender equity.

To read the article in full, click the link here. 

To find out more about Live More Offline, and how to equip your employees with the skills to thrive in the healthy and productive digital workplace of the future, you can visit their website  and their Linkedin.

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