New Normal in 2020

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19 March 2020
Eiichiro Yanagawa

Remote Work Technology Overcomes COVID-19

For the workers at large-scale Japanese companies, including financial institutions, the daily commute has always been an important aspect of business life in Japan. Most regular work has always been done in the office. When they needed to deal with complex issues or make important decisions, all the stakeholders gathered in the office to discuss the subjects. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is challenging this common practice; companies are now compelled to impose travel restrictions on their employees or limit the size of meetings. Accordingly, remote work is very likely to become the new normal in 2020, which I think will have a significant impact on financial institution management.

Lasting remote work will create a great demand for better remote meetings (tel/web conferencing) and virtual collaboration approaches. It will also require new employment, personnel, and management rules that assume remote work, where face-to-face meetings and office work will be options. As for customer service, some processes will need to be fundamentally redesigned. However, by elaborating on a better business plan, designing a thoughtful process that respects UI/ UX, and considering thoroughly quality and productivity for that purpose, there will be drastic changes in working practices, which their past BPR (business process redesign) could not create.

COVID-19 also has been creating a lot of uncertainty and significant volatility (price and volume fluctuations) in daily financial markets. The design and implementation of remote work will require companies to race against time and to be flexible enough to change very quickly. In other words, the transformation to an “Amoeba Management” (information and data-driven, autonomous and flexible organization management) is essential and worth trying even though Japanese financial institutions and other big companies are not good at it, at all. The design and implementation of remote work will also require a virtual process design along with its operational modifications and sophistication. In the process, it will be accompanied by rigid BC/ DR (Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery management) revisions.

There is no point in going back to a time before COVID-19. If financial institutions could learn from the infectious disease control experience, IT remote work should be the new normal (default) as a matter of course, not only from the perspective of business continuity, but also in terms of business costs, quality, and productivity. After the crisis, there will be a new arena of innovations, where cost savings and increased productivity go hand-in-hand.


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