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Hybrid work is the future of London Markets: 5 key takeaways

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have changed the way we work for good. Offices, which were once the lively center of business life, have for large parts of the year been at home only for empty desks, unpainted coffee beans and unanswered questions …

Working from home has had good chances to prove itself in the last 18 years months, some ask if the future is distant; After all, if not really needed, commercial real estate is an expensive luxury to have. At the same time, however, it is clear that video calling is not really an equal substitute for personal relationships – especially at London Markets, where business has traditionally been done face to face.

So, what does the future of work look like for London Markets? To provide some preliminary answers, Accenture and Munich Re Specialty Group conducted a first-of-its-kind study of Lloyds and Companies Markets on June 28 -1

4 July . [19659002] We heard from almost 200 individuals – mainly brokers in senior positions and leadership positions – with important talking points about companies' planned return to work after the British government's restrictions were lifted, the challenges of teleworking and the future of offices. Here we present our five keywords.

# 1 Remote connection is here – but the future of London Markets is evolution, not revolution

Until recently, London Markets relied almost exclusively on office work, so lockdowns have been a major breakthrough with tradition-40% of our respondents said their company had zero teleworking regulations before the outbreak of Covid-19.

However, this will change. Almost all respondents expected that their companies would retain the opportunity to work remotely beyond their official return date, a large majority indefinitely. And it is not only the availability of the alternative that has increased, the absolute amount of time working remotely was also expected to increase.

Pre-Covid, respondents estimated that their company worked an average of 4.4 days in the office and 0.6 days remotely each week; In the future, they expected this figure to be around 2.75 days in the office and 2.25 days in the distance, an increase in telework by 1.65 days per week.

Although these findings constitute a clear turn towards teleworking, the situation we end up in will still be one where the majority of the week is spent in the office. For this reason, the future of the work at London Markets is better characterized as hybrid rather than distant, a development rather than a revolution.

This implies fears about the future of offices – which may still apply in other sectors – are likely to be overestimated in London Markets.

This is not to say that companies do not live up to the benefits of saving on office properties. When asked about the biggest business benefits of teleworking, our respondents ranked this factor in third place – but only in third place. In fact, the top positions went to soft factors that are not directly driven by profit: "better work-life balance" and "higher employee satisfaction".

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Source: London Markets Ways of Working Survey 2021

# 2 Office return coming sooner rather than later, but it will be flexible

With office future secure, at least at London Markets, it's time to consider more practical issues, such as the time and type of return of companies to the workplace.

By mid-July, when our survey ended, almost every respondent believed that their company's return to office would last until the end of September. Only 3% said their company planned to wait beyond this point.

This suggests that government restrictions have been the blocker all along, not a deeper change of attitude. With the former largely repealed on July 19 there is little to stand in the way of staff moving back to office space.

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Source: London Markets Ways of Working Survey 2021

If the rate of office returns was fairly consistent among respondents, the way of that return was much smaller.

Only 5% said their business would demand a return for everyone, with 40% sharing for free-for-all approaches (where anyone can come in again, but no one is forced to ) and 43% for partial returns.

Partial return includes first-come-first-served (4%), rotation policies (16%) and prioritization of certain work roles (23%), in this case overwhelming client-wait positions.

# 3 Face to face is still central to life at London Markets.

The trend of prioritizing staff facing the customer back to the field takes us to the heart of life at London Markets, where brokers and insurers have been doing business face to face for centuries. And this does not show signs of changing any time soon.

96% of broker respondents stated that contact with face to face is important for transactions with insurers, and a significant proportion (34%) call it very important ("face to face all the time").

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Source: London Markets Ways of Working Survey 2021

So, how do we reconcile this takeaway — the enduring meaning face-to-face — with our previous observation of a sharp turn to telework? Again, the answer is

We envisage a future in which companies achieve shorter working weeks not by sacrificing valuable personal connections but by facilitating, or even encouraging, the completion of routine activities.This will require a sharper triaging of data to extract flexibility for staff where possible – as a substitute for continued personal commitment when this is business critical.

# 4 Attitudes at London Markets differ In relation to the United Kingdom in the large insurance sector

We saw in the first graphic that "better work-life balance for staff" and "higher employee satisfaction" were considered to be the biggest benefits of teleworking. In fact, there is more general talk that this will be a big draw for progressive companies — with existing and prospective employees potentially willing to use the hatchet over homework.

In a separate UK survey of 500 insurance workers, also conducted during the summer, we found that workers in British insurance were more generally very open to leaving the office behind, with 1-in-4 indicating that they prefer to work completely away from home in the future.

We have seen that London Markets also includes teleworking – but in a noticeably more temperate way.

Respondents expected their companies to work an average of 2.75 days in the office per week after Covid-19, with completely remote weeks rarely in conflict. In fact, only 9% intended to work in the office two days or less a week ahead. In comparison, 72% of those surveyed in our survey of the wider UK insurance sector said that two days or less would be their preference.

This difference in degree is neither surprising nor necessarily a bad thing. After all, it's important to do business on London Markets – with the larger, smaller standard risks involved – from doing it on, for example, personal lines.

For this reason, brokers and guarantors at London Markets should be informed, but not guided, by what happens to teleworking in other sectors. Ultimately, it has to be about what's best for their companies and staff specifically – probably a certain hybridity. They really have the luxury of choosing and choosing the best aspects of teleworking, experimenting over time rather than jumping, all or nothing, into risky "big bets" on the future of work.

# 5 For hybrid successes, the benefits of teleworking and office work must be balanced

We have already talked about the perceived staff benefits of teleworking as a better balance between work and private life and higher job satisfaction. So, what are some of the risks?

There has been a much broader discussion of the technical barriers to managing a remote force, especially around cybersecurity and remote access to systems. However, our respondents at London Markets were more likely to point to interpersonal factors such as "reduced staff interaction and creativity", "difficulties in introducing corporate culture" and "reduced career development opportunities for staff" when asked to rate the leading threats to a successful hybrid future.

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Source: London Markets Ways of Working Survey 2021

In these cases, the lack of personal contact normally provided by a day at the office can begin to remind itself. The main benefit of office work, which our respondents voted for, was "learning from colleagues".

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Source: London Markets Ways of Working Survey 2021

The It is important to note that interpersonal factors take precedence, as a temptation for many companies with remote initiatives may be to consider the work done when relevant collaboration tools and security protocols have implemented. However, this can not be further from the truth: in reality, a remote workforce requires continuous maintenance.

Part of this maintenance is accomplished through a hybrid set-up, in which employees maintain regular personal contact with colleagues and customers along with their home-based activities. But the basic point is clear: companies must have an open dialogue with teleworkers and not just let them manage on their own. In our survey of 500 people on the wider UK insurance sector, 1-in-4 said they felt disconnected from their businesses after the Covid-19 outbreak.

At London Markets, respondents were relatively positive, for now at least when it comes to mental health related to telework, rate this in the lower half of the eight threats to a hybrid future we presented to them (shown in the previous graphic) . But the threats they ranked highest – loss of creativity, career development and culture – all have the potential to harm the mental health of the workforce in the long run, so this must not be taken for granted.

So in summary, teleworking is definitely a part of the future of London Markets. However, it will not swallow the sector yet, but more as evolution than revolution.

We expect a compromise between traditional face-to-face and new remote channels; offices and personal meetings will remain, but staff will benefit from increased flexibility. It may not be necessary to make major changes, but companies that choose to ignore the increased staff benefits of homework are likely to do so at their own risk. The same applies to companies that see telework as a one-time repair and ignore its ongoing human consequences.

And the most exciting part: with people now returning to the office in increasing numbers, the hybrid future is already here. If you want to learn more about these perspectives or our latest survey, contact us.

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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be used in consultation with our professional advisors.
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