Remote Working in the Banking Industry: Case Study

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Introduction: Shifting Working Expectation in Regard to Remote Working

Pandemic restrictions led to rapid changes in management and business in general. Growing demand for remote working techniques accelerated significantly, causing the establishment of the new methodology. As technological advancements establish, the competitive environment of workplaces undergoes considerable transformations. Communication developed worldwide, providing new opportunities not only in remote working but in every aspect of human life. It may be necessary to implement remote working practices in corporations in order to improve workforce mobility, communication efficiency and, in some cases, reduce costs (Nickson, 2016). However, each of these goals is closely linked with a number of possible challenges.

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Remote working may provide essential benefits for both small organizations and large transnational corporations. Nonetheless, it is particularly effective in big businesses. The advantages of remote working relate to both the employees and the organization. By implementing remote working, it may be possible to reduce the costs, including commuting expenses, significantly. The workers are provided with more flexibility, which may lead to an increase in productivity and efficiency. However, it may also have acute adverse effects on the employees and the organization. For example, the workers may feel isolated and lacking communication with others. Moreover, it may not always be possible to maintain high productivity from home and introduce effective time management. Furthermore, a considerable mistrust in management may occur, and hence management approaches need to adapt accordingly in order to correspond to the circumstances.

Another big issue related to remote working is working too much or working overtime. In most cases, the upper management is concerned that remote working may lead to lower productivity of employees without supervision. Nevertheless, in reality, the opposite tends to happen as it may not be possible to determine working timeframes while working from home. Work may transform into a constant process with no distinguished time limits. Therefore it may be beneficial to introduce specific management frameworks in order to prevent overworking and worker fatigue.

Even though digital technologies provide numerous opportunities in terms of modern communication, remote working practices may lack communication. In many cases, it may be easier to understand the task while communicating face to face. However, such issues are usually linked to a lack of digital experience and are minimized with time. The problem may be complicated if some employees work from home while others stay in the office. Remote workers need to be provided with comprehensive valuable information regarding decisions taken in the office. Moreover, some issues unrelated to communication may occur as the remote workers may feel isolated. Such challenges may lead to a significant decrease in productivity.

Another communication-related problem is closely linked with the time zone differences. It may be particularly relevant in terms of transnational corporations, which represent the primary user of remote working practices. Even though these practices provide valuable communication opportunities, time zones introduce a considerable challenge. It may not be possible to resolve the problem completely, yet there may be some solutions, which may minimize the harm. For example, it may be possible to shift the working schedule of workers in order to overlap their working hours as much as possible. Even though it may not eliminate miscommunication, such a decision may provide sufficient time gaps to exchange valuable information.

It may also be critical to identify the most efficient means of communication for remote working. According to recent research, emails and media communication are ranked as the most effective instruments for remote working (Flores, 2019). Telephone calls and audio conferencing may be less efficient in terms of data exchange yet may provide a valuable face-to-face communication experience. Instant messaging and the company intranet may also play a significant role in communication for remote workers.

The Banking Industry

The banking industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. As it needs to satisfy the demand for banking services all over the globe, it relies significantly on technology. Technological advancements may influence the industry dramatically, and timely implementation of emerging digital technologies may become a considerable competitive advantage. Therefore, the banking sector utilizes technology in order to serve its clients as fast as possible with minimum costs. One of the most recent and critical transformations of the banking industry is closely linked with the establishment of E-banking. When the technology was introduced, banks worldwide tried to implement it as soon as possible. Remote banking is another technique that proved to be highly effective and cost-efficient. The installation of ATMs allowed people in rural areas to access banking services without any challenges. Such a technologically dependent industry as banking may significantly benefit from the emerging trend of remote working.

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Even though banks need to provide a wide variety of services related to cash, in most cases, the majority of revenue is accumulated by digital assets. It may be more than possible to maintain digital services via remote working practices. The recent COVID-19 pandemic forced the banking industry to overthink its views on remote working and introduce more remote banking services. Most of these services were proven to be highly effective and hence may thrive after the pandemic. Recent research has shown that remote working and flexible working hours have a considerable positive impact on job satisfaction in the banking industry (Chandra Putra et al., 2020). Moreover, it may be possible that job satisfaction rates are closely linked with worker productivity. It may be necessary to determine if the implementation of remote working practices may improve the cost-efficiency of banking services.

Remote Working in the Banking Industry

As already mentioned, remote working practices offer a wide variety of opportunities for modern organizations and businesses. Even though there is a number of considerable challenges, the potential benefits of remote working may outweigh the disadvantages. Moreover, such practices are highly effective in terms of large businesses and international companies and hence are suitable for the banking industry. The vast majority of the players in the industry are represented by large organizations with enormous revenues and significant permanent staff sizes. The Australian banking industry includes such giants as Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Australia, and New Zealand Banking Group, National Australia Bank. These banks are among the top ten biggest companies in Australia, and hence the implementation of remote working in these organizations may have a positive impact on the national level. The banking industry employees represent a considerable percentage of the Australian population.

Technological development allows banking employees to access their working places remotely without significant security threats or technological flaws. As banking systems provide remote access for their clients, it may also be beneficial to implement remote working in order to reduce unnecessary costs. However, it may be necessary to test remote working practices on various customer-related services before implementing them into frameworks, which are related to security protocols. It may be beneficial to assess such an approach using the 5ps marketing model.

Customer services such as support services may represent the product. It may be possible to provide such services remotely, without significant threats to security. It may be particularly effective in terms of providing preliminary customer support via social media and messengers. These services are free for the customer, and hence it may be necessary to decrease the costs as much as possible. Remote working practices may considerably contribute to the achievement of that goal without substantial declines in service quality. As already mentioned, it may be possible to provide these services via social media and digital means of communication. It may also be critical to promote these services as an alternative to traditional ways of banking advice and consultation. Remote working implies hiring qualified staff with high communication skills and providing them with the necessary knowledge regarding the banking system.

Such services are rapidly implemented in the banking industry as they provide timely, high-quality support for customers with minimal waiting time and an individual approach. Moreover, with the development of modern technology, digital means of communication are becoming more and more popular, and hence are more convenient for most customers to use. Therefore, the use of social media and messengers as the primary means of communication became an inseparable part of the modern banking sector. It may be an essential competitive advantage, yet most banks already implemented such services. It may be beneficial to introduce a new approach to these services in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

Even though these services are free, it may be possible to maintain cost leadership by utilizing remote working practices. Maintenance of these support services represents financial costs, which are transferred to other banking products and services. It may be possible to reduce prices in general by reducing the costs of support provision. Remote working may be suitable for such services as they do not interfere with security information and do not require being in the office. The necessary data may be accessible via digital devices and provided to the customer. It also does not require long training or constant supervision. Therefore, remote working practices may significantly reduce the costs of these services without lowering the quality. Moreover, according to some studies, remote working increases job satisfaction and productivity, which may lead to the general improvement of provided services (Felstead & Henseke, 2017). Remote working may offer broad opportunities in terms of customer communication and feedback gathering.

Industry Readiness

The recent pandemic has shown that most industries are not ready to implement remote working on large scales. Such extreme business environments dealt significant damage to most industries forcing the “survival of the fittest.” Even though forced remote working practices may not always be beneficial, a large number of organizations were able to successfully implement a remote approach to management and may maintain it even after the mitigation of restrictions (Davies, 2021). Such controversial consequences may indicate that even though in some cases it was not possible to switch to remote working rapidly, its principles may be effective under more favorable circumstances and rational management.

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Furthermore, the pandemic significantly increased competition in terms of remote working implementation. Therefore, a large number of managers were able to adapt and obtain sufficient knowledge in the field. The modern paradigm equipped the managers with all necessary skills in order to effectively manage human resources remotely. However, there is still a number of essential challenges, which require a solution. For example, although the upper management may have the necessary skills and competencies, in many cases, the employees are not ready to work from home.

People may tend to search for remote work as it provides a list of benefits, yet the majority still lacks needed responsibility and time-management skills. Therefore, it may be necessary to implement training frameworks in order to prepare not only the managers but also regular workers. The labor market in the banking industry correlated with the general tendencies in the world. COVID-19 restrictions provided banking managers with sufficient skill regarding remote management, yet further training for remote workers may be required. Conclusively, even though the pandemic delivered a devastating blow to the global economy, it also provided opportunities to overthink workflows and develop new approaches to management.

Conclusion

The rapid development of information technology accompanied by the pandemic regulations contributed to the development of communication of remote workers. Such employees are now able to receive and transfer large amounts of data from their homes using digital means of communication. Remote working provides a list of advantages for workers, as they are able to manage their time independently, have access to higher flexibility, and do not have to spend time and money to get to the office. However, there are also some issues, which may prevent the increase of worker productivity. Organizations are also considerably influenced by remote working practices. The Australian banking industry may significantly benefit from such an approach. Conclusively, the necessary conditions for remote working may have already formed, and the implementation of these practices may offer essential opportunities without high risks.

References

Chandra Putra, K., Aris Pratama, T., Aureri Linggautama, R., & Wulan Prasetyaningtyas, S. (2020). The Impact of Flexible Working Hours, Remote Working, and Work Life Balance to Employee Satisfaction in Banking Industry during Covid-19 Pandemic Period. Journal of Business Management Review, 1(5), 341–353. Web.

Davies, A. (2021). COVID-19 and ICT-Supported Remote Working: Opportunities for Rural Economies. World, 2(1), 139–152. Web.

Felstead, A., & Henseke, G. (2017). Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance. New Technology, Work and Employment, 32(3), 195–212. Web.

Flores, M. F. (2019). Understanding The Challenges Of Remote Working And It’s Impact To Workers’. International Journal of Business Marketing and Management (IJBMM), 4(11), 40-44.

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Nickson, D. (2016). Remote working. Routledge.

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