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New Eagle Hill Consulting research finds only half of financial services workers asked for input on their remote work preferences

Financial services employees value in-person work, but most would consider a new job if faced with reduced remote work flexibility

Arlington, Va., November 14, 2023 – Only 54 percent of U.S. financial services industry employees indicate that someone in their organization has asked for their preferences when it comes to remote and hybrid work, according to a new national poll conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting. And while the job market has slowed, a large share of financial services workers (68 percent) indicate they would consider seeking new employment if their employer were to reduce remote and hybrid work flexibility, substantially higher than the overall U.S. workforce (47 percent).

Read an infographic, The State of Hybrid Work in the Financial Services Industry.

In recent months, some financial services employers have been changing their policies and issuing return-to-workplace mandates. Yet, office attendance in large cities is at barely half of what it was in 2019 before the global pandemic forced most workers to work from home.  

The research also finds more than half of financial services workers (55 percent) prefer an employer that offers remote and hybrid work flexibility, again higher than the overall U.S. workforce (49 percent). At the same time, financial services employees value in-person work. When asked about the upsides of in-person work, employees say it’s more socialization (51 percent), improved collaboration (41 percent), increased productivity (35 percent), and the ability to leave work at work (27 percent).

“Even though segments of the financial services industry are reducing their workforce, it’s still critically important to solicit employee input on how they want to work,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Our research finds that remote and hybrid work flexibility is a high priority preference for financial services employees, yet many workers say no one is asking their views. When employees don’t feel heard, it often breaks down trust and drives up attrition.” 

“Financial services workers learned during the global pandemic that they can get their job done and have improved work-life balance through remote work. Employees do see the value of in-person work, but they also want less stress and more autonomy. They often are weary of long and expensive commutes every day, and they certainly don’t want one-size-fits-all mandates,” Jezior said.  

The research also finds:

  • Fifty-four percent of financial services workers say they would like their employer to have more flexibility when it comes to remote and hybrid work policies. 
  • A large share of financial services workers (68 percent) say those who work more in the office rather than remotely are more likely to be successful in their jobs. 
  • Financial services employee concerns about increasing in-person work requirements include work-life balance (53 percent), higher costs (42 percent), commute times (41 percent), and stress (37 percent). 
  • According to financial services workers, work that is best accomplished in person includes team building (78 percent), integrating a new team member (74 percent), training (72 percent), new project kickoffs (70 percent), getting a project on track (66 percent), performance discussions (65 percent), onboarding (63 percent), meetings (63 percent), giving and receiving feedback (62 percent), and brainstorming and IT support, both at 59 percent. 
  • When given the choice between either coming to the workplace or remote work, slightly more financial services workers would prefer remote work (51 percent) over coming into the office (49 percent).
  • Financial services employees are evenly split as to whether they are more productive spending a full day in the workplace (50 percent) versus spending only part of the day (50 percent).
  • Most financial services workers (82 percent) say they trust that the person who determines where they work understands how employees can be most productive. 

These findings are based upon the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Telework Survey conducted by Ipsos from October 11-16, 2023. The survey included 386 financial services workers among 1,350 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. Respondents were polled about their views about working remotely.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy, Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. A leading authority on employee sentiment, Eagle Hill is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with employees across the U.S. and offices in Boston and Seattle. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact:  Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill