Amid the Covid induced lockdown across the globe, many of the businesses were forced to ask their employees to work from home, while many quickly adapted to the transition, for others it was a cumbersome process. When manufacturing got severely hit with the lockdown, services continued to operate mostly smoothly as many of them transformed to the work from the home scenario for their business and the customers, which not only helped them to cope-up with the situation but has also provided a wider opportunity for the future. Banking falls into the sphere of the service industry, was one among the various sectors which positively went for the change, now the sector is likely to adapt the work from home concept and operate with minimum staff at the branches. Unlike other countries, UK’s banking industry is much evolved. Before visiting the bank, you might have to book an appointment in advance, not like other countries where direct walk-ins are preferred. Therefore, Work from Home culture might be a boon for the banking sector in the UK as the employees would be able to attend more customers through online platforms at their convenience compared to existing procedures.
The Banking industry is likely to see much lesser cash withdrawals in the post Covid-19 era. During the lockdown, people were more inclined towards using PayWave cards, and mobile wallets over the Point of Sale (PoS) counters as cashless transactions were encouraged. Banking products such as individual loans, credit cards, insurance and other similar products can be pushed through existing online platforms only. Similarly, most of the retail banking transactions can be done through the internet or mobile banking. The new age banking is hugely dependent on technology and has played an important role in this hour of unprecedented crisis.
According to some reports, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (LON: RBS) has asked a significant chunk of its workforce to continue to work from home for at least four more months. Though, employees who are involved in sensitive job roles such as custody of vault or handling confidential data have been asked to report to the offices. During the lockdown, more than 90 per cent of the bank branches remained open. The office spaces have been strictly practising social distancing along with thermal imaging and other safety measures all these times. In the first three months of 2020, pre-tax profits of the bank had fallen to £519 million. As the coronavirus engulfed the UK’s economy, people have decreased their spending and started saving. This has led to an increase in deposits for RBS.
RBS has put aside more than 800 million pounds, fearing inability of recovering debts from the borrowers amid the pandemic-stricken environment. There are expectations that the UK banks would incur losses in the first quarter of 2020. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, UK banks are offering relief to consumers by announcing repayment holidays on mortgages and loans.
On 22 May 2020, after the market close, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc shares were marginally up by 0.92 per cent against its previous day closing price and last traded at GBX 104.15. Stock's 52 weeks High and Low is GBX 265 /GBX 100.34. The beta of the company stood at 1.4, reflecting higher volatility as compared to the benchmark index. The total M-Cap (market capitalisation) of the company as on 22 May 2020 stood at £12,480.91 million.
The primary activities of the bank include lending money and accepting deposits. Banking has been one of the oldest businesses and has evolved since centuries; it can be called the engine of the economic vehicle within a country. In recent times, the banking has seen a major development in terms of digital banking, which offers convenience and is more eco-friendly. People are encouraged to making digital payments and opting for e-statements to save paper. These existing measures, along with advancement in technology, will be emphasised more not only to reduce the pressure on the mother nature but also be the way forward in the post Covid-19 era.
The outbreak of the pandemic has devasted most of the sectors of the economy, primarily the manufacturing sector. With the global supply chain is disrupted and halt in operations due to lockdown induced by the deadly pandemic, which brought activities in the sector to a screeching halt.
However, the services sector could manage to sustain itself to a certain extent, with the technological infrastructure already in place. For instance, work from home concept has been a boon for the service industry during the unprecedented crisis and still might play a pivotal role in the resurrection of the whole services sector. The services sector, which was earlier not able to provide this facility to their employees are finetuning their business model to facilitate this concept as an alternative option.
Work from Home- From compulsion of the present to the choice of future
While, modern office spaces could be distracting, the ‘Work from Home’ concept empowers employees to concentrate more on work and helps in avoiding distraction. Working in the comfort of home in a peaceful environment can lead to better productivity. Working remotely also helps in avoiding daily commute, which could be stressful in the rush hour. Employees can choose to try different work locations with this concept; maybe they can even work from their holiday destinations. Another important benefit of working from is finding the work-life balance with increased family time. This concept is environment friendly as less commute would lead to lesser carbon emissions. In addition, a lesser commute would also help you save some bucks.
The unprecedented crisis has given an opportunity to conventional businesses to revamp their business models. In the current situation, when most of the workforce is working remotely, still the companies can meet their business targets. In the long-term horizon, the service sector companies might think of adopting this concept as a regular feature because this will lead to other benefits. The companies, therefore, would need lesser space for the office premises and would be able to save costs. Money saved is equal to money earned, hence through the technological infrastructure available, companies can think of creating secure virtual workspaces for their employees at their homes.
In addition, as the world would always fear future pandemics as learnt from the past, the companies should try to make their business models more resilient. Work from home concept is one such step which is more agile, less risky and ensures business continuity amid the unprecedented crisis.
However, there are some downsides to this concept. In the public dealing jobs where human to human interaction has a lot of importance, and dealings need physical verification, like buying a house etc it is not that useful. Also, it is not suitable for some, specifically for aged people who are not comfortable using technology and would like to visit in person and get their work done.
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