Remote work is here to stay. Banks are still sorting out how to adapt.

Author Joel Berg

Vista Bank in Dallas had no employees working from home before COVID-19 hit. But the pandemic demonstrated that the arrangements could work and that employees valued them, said Auden Herrera, chief operations officer for the $1.3 billion-asset bank.

So, in fall 2020, Vista executives began discussing which groups of employees could serve as a beta test for remote work. The test ended up including six employees from the finance and the Bank Security Act teams. The reasoning was that those two groups have no direct customer interaction and oversee activities that can be measured.

The test laid the foundation for a bankwide policy that was formalized in March.

The policy sets expectations for employees, such as the need for a quiet workspace and the ability to take breaks. It also clarifies the technology provided by the bank, such as phones and computers. But it is not one size fits all, Herrera said. “We’re empowering our employees and our management teams to identify to what extent they want to offer the work-from-home program.”

As of mid-October, 10 of the bank’s 158 employees were taking advantage of the program, Herrera said. The bank is still measuring productivity. But it is not the only yardstick Vista is using to gauge whether remote work is here to stay. “The success of your work-from-home program is easily measured by employee satisfaction, as evidenced by retention levels. Only time will tell how that works in our industry,” Herrera said.

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