Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 83 - Page 44

CIO OPINION
Financial sector employees have embraced the laptop as the main device to work , collaborate and host meetings .
Ekta Puthran , MEA Lead –
Collaboration , Barco

A stats-based approach to hybrid work in the financial sector

A flexible office environment can better align employee needs and business goals , but the financial and banking sector seems to be reverting to old habits and rallying for in-office presence . Ekta Puthran , MEA Lead – Collaboration , Barco , takes a look at how the financial sector is adapting to a hybrid work approach .

Most employees in the UAE want a hybrid or full-time remote work arrangement . It is a sentiment that is echoed by people working across industries , including the local finance and banking sectors . But as businesses began contemplating a return to office plans , the financial and banking sector seemed to be reverting to old habits and rallying for in-office presence .

Bolstered by the COVID-19 pandemic and a tight labour market , worker demands for more flexibility have only increased in recent months – even with the world reopening again . Standard Chartered showed foresight and committed to continue to offer permanent flexible work for its staff from as early as
January 2021 . The initiative started with nine of its primary markets , including the UAE .
The bank also collaborated with IWG – a flexible workspace services provider – so employees worldwide can work from any of IWG ’ s 3,500 locations internationally . HSBC has also formally certified hybrid working with the ambition of reducing office space by 40 %. On the flip side , Barclays has announced that it was looking to ramp up employees ’ return to its London and New York offices .
Clearly , only a handful of organisations within the financial sector are realising the risks of a ‘ one-sizefits-all ’ work approach , as many workers want to
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