Last reviewed 5 June 2020

With firms such as Twitter telling employees that they can continue working from home “forever” if they wish, the experiment forced on many employers by the Covid-19 crisis has perhaps proved successful enough to change long-established working patterns.

According to a new survey undertaken by Deloitte, almost three quarters (70%) of employees working in financial services rate their working from home (WFH) experience as positive.

A similar percentage said that they are as or more productive working from home during the lockdown. This is largely due to less time commuting to and from work (72%), followed by fewer distractions (54%) and a quieter working environment (52%).

The “Future of the City” survey sought to understand how financial services employees — including those in banking, investment management and insurance — have adapted to working from home and found that the number of people expecting to work from home more than twice a week post-lockdown has tripled to 43%.

Employee wellbeing has taken a positive turn with more than a third (36%) stating their wellbeing has improved during lockdown, against just under a quarter (24%) who said it had worsened.

Of those who rated the experience as negative, over half (51%) suggested it was due to having less in-person interactions, followed by the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance (41%).

When asked what would improve their WFH experience, almost half of those surveyed (44%) said wellbeing tools — such as reminders to take breaks — would help.

“Given ways of working are likely to be constrained for a while,” Margaret Doyle, financial services partner at Deloitte said, “this is good news. Longer term, this forced homeworking experiment offers the industry a chance to reflect on its ways of working.”

Comment by Croner Associate Director Paul Holcroft

For many employers, allowing staff to work from home is something they’ve had to get used to, very quickly, over the past few months.

They should note that the law on flexible working arrangements such as homeworking remains the same; it is ultimately down to employers who they let work remotely and, as lockdown is relaxed, some businesses may want to try and return to normal as much as possible.

However, these figures demonstrate that many employees may have adapted well to this new arrangement and, with the ever-present risk of coronavirus likely to be present for some time, could not be very eager to return to work.

As we go forward, employers are likely to need to be more flexible to keep everyone feeling safe and secure, and homeworking could be a key part of this.