06Jun

Forced to work from home because of the global coronavirus pandemic, banking professionals are warming to the practice and discovering they can be even more productive at home than in the office.

That’s a dramatic reversal from what they were thinking shortly after they first began working remotely.

In April, when Deutsche Bank first surveyed financial professionals, 47% said once the pandemic subsided they would work from home only when they had to. In the latest survey, conducted two weeks ago, only 31% expressed that attitude. Now, 63% said they plan on working from home at least one or two days a week.

In the April survey, 36% said they intend to work from home once or twice a week. Another 11% said they intended to work remotely three or more days a week.

What’s behind the change in attitude? The Deutsche Bank survey reported by eFinancialCareers, apparently didn’t probe that deeply. However, a question about productivity suggests at least part of the reason is that almost 4-in-10 respondents are getting more work done at home than they did in the office.

In April, as workers were still settling in to the new routine, 29% said they were more productive. In the May survey, 37% claimed greater productivity. Counting those who now say there’s no change in their productivity, then 69% of finance professionals say they are as productive or more so working from home.

Interestingly, the more senior the professional, the more likely they are to claim an increase in productivity. A chart in the eFinancialCareers report shows finance professionals over 45 reporting they are more productive by 10 percentage points or more compared to their younger colleagues.

Hinting that working remotely may become more the rule than the exception for Deutsche Bank employees, CEO Christian Sewing told shareholders during the firm’s annual meeting that it is a way to save money.

“If 60% of employees worldwide can work away from their offices and still deliver excellent service to our clients, then of course we have to ask ourselves: can we give our staff additional flexibility to work from home if they want to?” Sewing said in his speech to shareholders. “And if that’s the case, do we need quite so many offices in expensive urban centers?”

Photo by Yasmina H on Unsplash

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Green Key

Bank Finds Autism Spectrum Hires Make Great Technologists

In the five years since starting its Autism at Work program, global investment bank JP Morgan Chase has discovered there’s almost no job someone on the spectrum can’t do.

An autism spectrum candidate was interviewed for a developer job that required Java. It turned out it was a language he didn’t know, said Anthony Pacilio, the global head of the bank’s autism program.

“We interviewed him on a Friday and although he didn’t know Java he said he would be able to learn it by Monday,” Pacilio told eFinancialCareers. “He did that using a few books and YouTube tutorials and by Monday he was proficient enough in Java to get the job.”

Since starting the Autism at Work program in 2015, JP Morgan now hires some 180 people annually, placing them in a variety of jobs, many in technology. From initially hiring into quality assurance, people on the autism spectrum fill jobs in coding, cybersecurity and compliance.

“For the most part, a person on the spectrum can do any job that you give them,” says Pacilio.

They also outperform neurotypical hires. “We have also found that autistic people have an incredible approach to problem-solving. They are very granular and see things in completely different ways to neurotypical employees,” says Pacilio.

He says that autism program employees in just one technology role, for example, were as much as 140% more productive in completing tasks than their neurotypical colleagues, and they did it with no mistakes.

“That is almost unheard of,” Pacillo noted.

The bank has invested in training recruiters how to interview people on the spectrum and teaching managers new skills to accommodate their different styles and ways of communicating.

“Our recruiters have been trained to understand that a person on the spectrum may not make eye contact, or could take longer to answer questions than other recruits,” says Pacilio. “We are trying to get beyond the idea that when we hire we are looking for people who are gregarious and outgoing and look you in the eye.”

As cybersecurity specialist Jake Richard said in an article on the company website, It’s great knowing I have a support system here and that people understand what my strengths and challenges are. It’s very gratifying.”

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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Green Key

Don’t Commit the Sin of Overproductivity

Is it possible to be too productive?

The short answer is “Yes.” The consequences of overproductivity can be as serious in white collar work as it is in lean manufacturing.

If that surprises you, consider what it means to exceed expectations and not just by doing more than what is expected, but overproducing to such an extent that you sometimes run out of work and feel guilty if you stop to take a breath.

Laura Stack, a productivity professionals, calls overproductivity a “deadly sin.”

Why would someone who’s written more books on productivity than practically anyone and who regularly speaks at conferences about improving productivity warn about being too productive? Because overproductivity on a sustained basis leads to a poor or non-existent work/life balance, it takes a toll on your body to always be running, managers ding you should you ever perform at “normal” speed and burnout forever looms.

“Too much work,” writes Stack, “Can damage your health in many ways, from cardiovascular disability to too little sleep, a poor diet, dehydration, and more .”

If that isn’t enough, your co-workers will come to resent you, since they’ll be pushed by the boss to perform at your pace. When you need their help on some task how likely do you suppose they’ll be to come to your aid?

“Like a nova that briefly outshines, if you overproduce too long, you may burn out, whereupon you’re useless, not just to yourself but to everyone. And in the modern business environment, an underperforming asset, even a human one, is unlikely to last long,” says Stack.

The point of this post isn’t to dissuade anyone from working hard and being productive. Instead, learn to pace yourself so you can perform well, sustain quality and be as productive next week, next month and next year as you are today.

Image by mohamed Hassan

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