The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way many of us work. With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place around the world, companies have had to quickly adapt and allow employees to work from home. While this remote work trend is likely to stick around for some industries post-pandemic, arguably no field has been more impacted by the shift than finance.
What are Remote Finance Jobs?
Remote finance jobs allow professionals in accounting, banking, financial analysis, and other finance occupations to work outside of a traditional office setting. Instead of commuting to an office each day, employees have the flexibility to do their work from home or wherever they may be.
Finance positions where remote work is common include:
- Financial analysts
- Credit analysts
- Loan officers
- Personal financial advisors
- Tax preparers
The Benefits of Remote Finance Work
There are many advantages both for employees and employers when finance positions are able to operate remotely:
Employees with remote finance jobs benefit from greater flexibility and autonomy over when and where they work. Remote work enables better work-life balance and allows people to avoid long commutes. This increased flexibility and reduced stress has been linked to higher productivity and job satisfaction.
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Lower Operating Costs
Companies save money on expenses like office rent and equipment when employees work from home. Greater access to talent beyond local geographic regions is another major benefit for employers.
Health and Safety
Allowing finance professionals to work remotely minimizes potential exposure to illnesses and promotes better physical and mental well-being. This has been especially crucial during the COVID-19 crisis for protecting employee health.
Continuity and Resilience
As the pandemic demonstrated, remote work enables business continuity even when in-person work is disrupted. Having effective digital infrastructure and remote collaboration tools provides organizations with greater resilience.
Remote Work Trends in Finance
The finance industry has traditionally been more resistant to remote work given the sensitive nature of financial data and reliance on legacy systems. However, remote work increased dramatically in finance during COVID-19:
- According to a McKinsey survey, the percentage of work hours done remotely rose from 5-20% pre-pandemic to 80-90% during early COVID lockdowns for finance employees.
- A survey by Robert Half found that 83% of CFOs intend to allow more employees to work from home indefinitely after the pandemic.
- Big banks like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and American Express plan to convert 10-20% of roles to permanently remote positions going forward.
- Fintech companies and digital banks that rely more on the cloud were often early adopters of remote work in finance.
Challenges of Remote Work in Finance
There are certainly difficulties and drawbacks that come with virtual finance positions as well, including:
- Data security and privacy risks from remote networks. Banks fear confidential data being compromised.
- Communication and collaboration challenges. Finance roles require extensive teamwork and coordination.
- Compliance considerations. Regulations like SEC rules exist for on-site supervision of workers.
- Career development concerns. Younger workers may miss out on mentoring and learning experiences.
- Monitoring employee productivity can also be more difficult remotely.
Best Practices for Remote Finance Jobs
If managed properly, the benefits clearly outweigh the disadvantages for most finance roles. Here are some best practices for companies offering remote work in finance:
- Invest in cybersecurity and ensure data protection policies are followed in remote settings. Use VPN networks and encryption protocols to secure sensitive data access.
- Upgrade technology infrastructure and collaboration systems, including the cloud capabilities to support remote staff. Video conferencing, instant messaging, and document sharing are essential.
- Train managers on overseeing remote employees. Set clear expectations and implement performance tracking.
- Promote social connections and communication. Virtual meetings, training sessions, and social events preserve team bonding and culture.
- Develop formal remote work policies. Solid guidelines on hours, availability, conduct, and data security are important.
- Be flexible and open-minded. Remote work won’t be the perfect fit for every position or person. Assess roles case-by-case.
The Future of Remote Finance Jobs
While we will likely see a hybrid mix of in-office and remote work persist in finance, the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to flexible work. Employees now expect increased autonomy over where they work. Adapting to this new normal will require companies to leverage technology and digitally transform many outdated finance processes. The firms that embrace enhanced workforce mobility will have a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining top talent. In the world of finance, going remote is clearly the trend to watch.