Half of Brits working in the financial services sector want to shift to a more flexible working model after the coronavirus pandemic ends, a new survey has revealed.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has sparked a major change in working habits, as stay-at-home orders have fuelled a sharp rise in home working.
A survey by KPMG and the Financial Services Skills Commission found the sector has responded well to the pandemic, with 78 per cent of staff saying they had been able to work from home effectively.
As a result, one in two financial services workers want to continue to work from home for at least part of the week after the pandemic ends.
However, the research showed that the majority of employees still value their time in the office. Only 26 per cent of those surveyed said they want to work from home full-time in future.
While the preference for new ways of working was consistent across age groups, the findings showed financial services workers aged 31 to 45 are the most driven to work more flexibly.
“With much of the workforce scattered across a variety of home-offices, kitchen tables, and spare bedrooms, this has presented both difficulty and, in some cases, welcome flexibility,” said Mel Newton, head of financial services people consulting at KPMG UK.
“It is important to note that only half of the workforce want to continue working this way, and that clear division is important. It demonstrates that flexibility is more than just allowing people to work from home on the occasional Friday – what the future workforce wants is personal choice.”
Beyond the pandemic
It comes after official figures revealed the majority of UK businesses plan to scrap working from home beyond the pandemic.
A survey by the Office for National Statistics showed that 67 per cent of British firms do not intend to keep home working as a permanent business model.
The data also showed that commuter numbers have continued to rise despite government orders not to return to the office, suggesting Brits are keen to get back to work.
While the response to home working has been largely positive, many finance workers said their pre-Covid skills fell short of what was needed to keep working remotely.
One in three said they needed more digital expertise, but only a quarter have been offered digital training by their employers. Moreover, one in five said they were relying on different management and leadership skills while working from home, while only 17 per cent had been offered training on it.
“As we have experienced a huge leap forwards in digitisation and remote working, the need to upskill our employees in digital and technological expertise is more important than ever,” said Claire Tunley, chief executive at the Financial Services Skills Commission.
“Increased investment in our employees’ future skills, alongside a sophisticated remote and flexible working offer, will help the UK financial services firms address the skills crisis the sector has been facing, attract talent, and position it for a successful future.”