Hybrid work is a growing trend, not just in the tech sector, but also in highly-regulated industries like financial and professional services. According to a survey by the London School of Economics, 95% of those surveyed in the financial sector believe that the future of work is hybrid, with only 5% wanting to return fully on-site.
The implementation of “hybrid” work is complex for these highly-regulated industries. From ensuring data security and compliance to meeting regulatory responsibilities, these industries require more oversight and transparency. According to Deloitte’s first Global Remote Work Survey, organizations cited regulatory issues as one of their top three challenges when implementing hybrid work.
For instance, these organizations face challenges in implementing hybrid work strategies for specific departments or functions with different requirements and expectations. One could argue some roles should be in the office for security and compliance reasons (e.g., traders within financial services), while others in roles with less stringent regulatory requirements (e.g., marketing) can be allowed more flexibility in where they work.
Hybrid Work Challenges of Highly-Regulated Markets
Highly-regulated markets, such as finance and legal services, are sectors that operate within strict frameworks established by governmental or industry-specific regulatory bodies. These regulations are designed to ensure transparency, fairness, and accountability and protect the interests of consumers, investors, and the general public.
These low-trust, high-compliance industries encounter additional hurdles when implementing hybrid work strategies. Some challenges they face include:
- Ensuring data security and compliance: Highly-regulated industries have strict compliance obligations, and hybrid work arrangements can make it harder to adhere to these requirements. Hybrid work also introduces additional vulnerabilities to the protection of sensitive data, such as the use of personal devices for work.
- Maintaining collaboration and communication: Hybrid work can hinder real-time communication and impede collaboration between teams in the finance and legal professions. Challenges can arise in coordinating meetings, sharing documents securely, and maintaining efficient workflows.
- Balancing workloads and managing expectations: Managing and evaluating employee performance, as well as ensuring employees are accountable and aligned with organizational objectives, becomes more complex in a hybrid work environment.
- Overcoming potential cultural resistance: Building and maintaining a strong organizational culture and employee engagement can be more challenging in a hybrid work environment. Employees lack access to informal interactions, networking opportunities, and team bonding that often occur in a physical office.
With varying degrees of flexibility, organizations must consider how all employees can have a workspace in the office and how to make that process easy for employees with different schedules. Leveraging either hot desking or hoteling along with desk booking software is an excellent way to manage hybrid work for sectors with varying degrees of regulatory requirements.
How Skedda Helps Finance and Legal Services Build Security & Compliance into Hybrid Work
Skedda is a hybrid work platform that allows highly-regulated industries to distribute flexible and fixed seating for various job roles easily. Whether it’s giving lawyers priority to reserve meeting rooms or designating private desks for insurance agents, Skedda’s robust features provide the granularity you need to streamline your workplace.
Here’s how Skedda enables finance and legal services companies to manage a hybrid workplace that complies with regulations and lowers security risks:
To maintain compliance, highly-regulated industries must be intentional with where different functions sit. With Skedda, they can use the following automated rules:
- Booking conditions: Establish specific restrictions and limits for each booking. That includes setting restrictions on who can book specific desks or meeting rooms and the booking time frame, such as time blocks and maximum booking time.
- Quotas: Limit the overall usage of spaces (by individuals or groups) within a given time period. This ensures various departments or teams can book these spaces.
- Buffer time: Create time gaps between consecutive bookings, allowing individuals or teams to organize their workspaces before the next employees use them. This can help protect private and confidential information from accidentally being left behind.
- Booking window: Keep spaces from being booked too far in advances, ensuring fair access and optimal planning. This feature can be customized based on user tags to provide preferential or early booking access to certain user types.
In addition to the automated rules, organizations can leverage user tags to segment different roles and assign varying permissions. For instance, you can create the user tag “permanent seating” for employees whose responsibility requires them to come into the office more often. You can also create the user tag “flexible seating” for employees who can work in a more flexible arrangement. That way, employees who require more privacy are given priority to use designated workspaces.
Organizations can also set up office neighborhoods based on user tags for regulatory and compliance reasons. For instance, organizations can decide that only employees with the “Legal” tag can book desks within the legal department’s neighborhood.
“Our hoteling process has been streamlined, and it’s much easier for our employees to plan ahead for when they’re coming into the office. I like how easy it is for our users to use, as well as for us (in IT) to manage.” - The Horton Group, Skedda customer
Direct Integration with Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace
Regulated markets tend to have specific platforms they must use and have been using for a long time. It takes time to approve new ones because of security risks. Skedda’s integration with popular existing platforms such as Microsoft and Google makes it easier to integrate Skedda into their existing infrastructure. The integration also protects reservations made in Skedda from being altered by attendees who can view the bookings on their MS365 and GW calendars.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Skedda supports single sign-on integration through Identity Providers with a SAML 2.0 option, such as Microsoft Azure Active Directory (O365), Okta, and many more. This allows employees to sign in to Skedda using their existing credentials, simplifying the login process and improving security by leveraging existing authentication mechanisms. SSO provides secure, integrated access using platforms already vetted and approved by regulatory bodies.
Lock-in & Repetition Policies
Organizations can also choose when their employees are able to cancel or change their bookings. For instance, you may create a policy that only allows employees to change/cancel their booking 24 hours before it starts, allowing for more transparency and administrative control over how desks or rooms are being used. Organizations may also allow only certain employees to create repeat bookings to avoid space congestion and to ensure specific roles have the workspace they need.
“With Skedda, we keep a record, and we can track (and know) if the office will be fully booked – this always helps us to prevent overbooking and ensures we have enough desks for everyone. Based on the current bookings, employees will also know if they can come in or work from home if the office is at full capacity.”
- Allica Bank, Skedda customer
Providing a Smoother Hybrid Work Experience
With employees overwhelmingly favoring hybrid work arrangements in these regulated sectors, employers who don’t find long-term solutions for hybrid work risk losing talent. To continue attracting top talent and enabling employee engagement, all while adhering to important regulations, the finance and legal services industries cannot afford not to explore hybrid work.
Desking booking software can streamline the meeting room and desk booking process for teams to meet on-site, reducing security and confidentiality issues that may arise. By implementing Skedda, finance and legal services companies can embrace a hybrid work strategy that ensures they still meet security and regulatory responsibilities.
If you’re ready to start scheduling and booking desks and rooms, create your free Skedda account today.