Is remote working set to revolutionise the insolvency industry or is it just a fleeting trend leftover from the global pandemic?
In the second installment of the Turnkey Exchange, our host, Mark Simpson, welcomes back Darren White, Greg Clough and Stephen Hunt to explore the rise of remote working, its impact on the insolvency industry and their views on the future.
Missed the first episode of the Turnkey Exchange? Catch up now over on the Turnkey Exchange Hub.
Throughout the episode, our guests discuss everything from their experiences and concerns with remote working through to the impact it will have on recruitment and Darren’s newfound Samba skills.
This week, Stephen kicks off the discussion by sharing his experience with moving to remote working during the pandemic which he has dubbed as a “fascinating experiment”. At Griffins, they experienced fluctuating levels of productivity which eventually plateaued as staff adjusted to working remotely and have ultimately opted not to return to the office. Not only has this allowed Griffin’s to reduce their overheads, but it has also opened up the opportunity to recruit nationally and enabled them to completely change their entire business model.
At A&M, Greg’s team were already working towards being paperless and so he found that they were able to easily carry on as normal when the pandemic struck with only the odd visit to the office when they needed to print cheques. Although they haven’t completely abandoned the office, and have in fact opened a few more since the pandemic, they have used it to really change the way they work with some teams taking a more hybrid approach.
With staff all over the UK and Australia, Turnkey utilises a combination of remote working and hybrid models to deliver its products and services. As a remote worker for over 30 years, Darren explains that the forced home working didn’t have much impact on him and his team of SMEs (who were already located remotely) however he believes that there were some areas of the business which did suffer. When it comes to recruitment, Darren strongly believes that nothing beats face to face meetings during onboarding, especially in the early days, and so encourages new joiners to spend time in the office to help them meet colleagues and receive training.
“When we onboard new staff, there is no, in my view, there’s no replacement for actual physical face to face. You know, be it training, be it introductions, be it just socialising in those early days. I think one of the things at Turnkey, we certainly go out of our way to ensure that even if our staff are remote, when they are first employed they spend an amount of physical time in the office with the wider team.”
Darren White, Global Head of Product, Turnkey
A concern which was shared by the group was the impact remote working has particularly on employee’s social interactions as Zoom quizzes don’t quite cut it. However, Stephen offers an alternative point of view, in that employees who may have struggled with the social interactions in an office environment may be able to thrive when working from home.
There also seems to be differing opinions throughout the UK, with those in regional offices more willing to return to the office than their London-based counterparts. Our guests pose the question of whether this is the result of rising commuting costs into the city or is there an element of top-down pressure to return to the office at play?
Both Darren and Greg expressed that they often found it difficult to find a natural time to “shut off” when working remotely and although they don’t work from a traditional office, they have found spaces to work from to help them find that distinction – and give Darren an escape from his daughter teaching dance lessons in the living room!
On a more positive note, the rise of remote working has also opened up new opportunities for insolvency professionals as firms are more open to recruiting based on skillset rather than location. As for the firms who don’t adapt to this approach, they risk significantly limiting their pool of candidates as not everyone is willing to return to the office.
“It could be that your recruitment is more narrow because there’s only so much percentage of the market will actually come in to your office and the others are remote. So unless you adapt to having both systems, you’ve got no chance. ”
Stephen Hunt, Partner, Griffins
Overall, our panel were in support of the rise of remote working and felt that it positively benefitted the insolvency industry. The general consensus was that there’s no one size fits all approach to remote working and that different people and different firms will do things in their own way and there is still more change to come.
And that concludes our round up of the key issues covered in the second episode of the Turnkey Exchange. If you haven’t already, you can listen to the full recording on the Turnkey Exchange Hub or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music.
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