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Banks: Hybrid working beneficial to health

Almost 40 per cent of the banking world mixes different work locations since the beginning of 2023. This means that knowledge-based services have finally arrived in the age of hybrid forms of work, according to a study by the employers’ association AGV Banken, and with it more satisfaction and the feeling of health promotion.” Sylvie Konzack

As recently as 2022, 40 per cent of employees in the private banking sector were predominantly mobile and only around 20 per cent worked in a mix of different work locations. By the beginning of 2023, this ratio has reversed, and for two-thirds of bank employees, teamwork from different locations has become part of everyday life. These are some of the results of a representative employee survey conducted by the Employers’ Association of the Private Banking Industry (AGV Banken) in February 2023. The ratio of office and mobile work has shifted considerably in the past year towards a balanced mix. The knowledge-based services have thus finally arrived in the age of hybrid forms of work – and these have a predominantly health-promoting and relieving effect thanks to higher autonomy and flexibility of the employees, according to the association’s assessment. This association includes about 100 large, regional, Pfandbrief and special banks, private bankers and building societies with about 135,000 employees.

In the banking sector, two thirds mobile

Mobile working has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. In the private banking sector, one in four employees worked mobile at least occasionally at the beginning of 2020; the current figure is 67 per cent. This makes banks one of the sectors with the highest share of mobile working.

Since 2022, the level has not increased, which AGV Banken sees as a clear indication that the potential for mobile work is currently exhausted. “The desire for mobile work and the actual extent are now at a higher level than before the pandemic and much closer together. In the private banking sector, 87 per cent would like to work from home at least once a week and 67 per cent can,” it says. ‍Mobile working has meanwhile also expanded to jobs with customer contact. However, even more flexibility is desired by many employees, e.g. in the distribution of working time from daily to weekly maximum working hours or the possibility to work on Saturdays as part of a 5-day week.

Mobile working has come on age

Relief, efficiency, good team culture – these are the positive effects frequently cited by hybrid workers in the employers’ association survey. ‍”Those who work mobile and hybrid are more satisfied and healthier than average. In particular, mobile and hybrid forms of work have a positive effect on the mental health of employees,” writes AGV Banken. Experienced mobile workers, who already worked outside the office more often before the pandemic, suffer even less from stress and exhaustion than mobile work newcomers. And managers in particular also see the hybrid forms of work as a relief: despite all the increased coordination effort in some cases, the mixture of management at a distance and increased personal exchange and improved communication obviously simplifies a number of complex management tasks.

Since the pandemic, the organisation of work, working conditions and corporate cultures in decentralised structures have apparently improved to such an extent that they offer mobile and hybrid workers an increasingly stress-free environment. ‍Three years after the pandemic outbreak, mobile work has thus “come of age”.

In the broader perspective, growing differentiated solutions are now relevant. “The quality of mobile and hybrid forms of work cannot be measured with a folding rule. What is needed is what combines flexibility and personal exchange – regardless of the exact extent of mobile and office work,” emphasises AGV CEO Carsten Rogge-Strang. In the hybrid world of work, “autonomy has finally become the overriding driver for job satisfaction and health”, this combined with a learned responsible approach.‍

Sylvie Konzack …

is surprised at how much the association study emphasises the health aspect and also that customer activities are becoming commonplace in the hybrid mix. Who would have thought that about the banking sector, which is often described as conservative.

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