Remote working – and beyond!

Most people think of remote working as the flexibility to work from home and to lounge around in shorts and a t-shirt on a Friday but there’s another aspect that seems like a distant memory… business travel!

The pandemic has seen us all change how we work…to a greater or lesser degree.

Zoom Fatigue has become a thing. Working from home has become the norm. Employers are now having to reconsider the role of the office in their corporate structure. And technology adoption has advanced more in the last year than it has for decades.

But one aspect of how we work has been impacted more than most. Overseas travel.

Not only are we, as human beings, sociable by nature (well, most of us anyway) but we also put relationships high on the list when it comes to who we do business with. The softer aspects of a business relationship include spending time in each other’s company at social events like lunch, dinner or maybe just over drinks.

These “human moments” allow us to drop our corporate personas and to engage with people at a human level – talking about sport or family or any number of other non-work-related topics. These are the moments that enable us to create stronger bonds and to establish rapport in a way that we can’t do over functional tools like Zoom or Teams (*other communication platforms are available).

Business is not a functional activity. Products don’t sell themselves. People need to and want to engage to help them become comfortable with the culture of a company as well as to know more about the type of people they’re going into business with. The pandemic has impacted that massively.

Remote working for many people meant flying overseas to meet partners, prospects and customers. Remote working was very far from the WFH (working from home) scenario outlined above. Some people loved this aspect of their jobs – others came to see it as something of a chore but, when that right to travel was taken from us, we all realised just how important it was and is to business.

Lloyd’s of London is a great example. It’s the beating heart of the specialty insurance market globally with nearly half of its business coming from the US. The practitioners in this market and their clients flew constantly on transatlantic flights and, environmental issues aside, for now, they had arguably the most special of UK-US special relationships. Of course, services like PPL can do a lot of the risk placement digitally but the market is about more than that. Placement of millions or billions of dollars of risk requires relationships and trust that come from being face to face and building trust and rapport in a way that you simply can’t do on a trading platform or a video calling service.

Many of the people in the London insurance market deal with clients internationally all day every day. Employers need to embrace the fact that 9-5 doesn’t work for many people in this case. Either because they need to be on a plane to visit people overseas or they need to be on a video call earlier or later than 9-5 to accommodate the people overseas who are ahead or behind GMT. These hybrid ways of working that are being embraced by employers and employees have many layers of complexity that require more thought and change than simply allowing people an “admin day” from home on a Friday. Those defunct ideas were never suitable pre-pandemic and they’re certainly far from the mark now in the present and post-pandemic work environment.
Just as we need to embrace changes to our domestic working practices, we need to remember that international ways of working require careful consideration too when defining hybrid working plans as we enter a double-jabbed easing of restrictions in the coming months.

We’ve been helping firms in the London insurance market to redefine their HR policies, working environments, IT solutions and more. We’ve done the same for banking and retail clients and so we bring experience, cross industry best practices, a proven ecosystem of international business partners and a safe pair of sanitised hands to a situation that is currently confusing many employers. To see how we can help you come up with the answers you need, get in touch using the contact form on this site.


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