Cultures are an “emergent outcome” of human interactions.  With that in mind, the question posed in a recent post from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is: “If culture is the ‘way things are done around here’, what happens when there is no ‘here’ anymore?”

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we live and work.  As a result, we are facing both challenges and opportunities surrounding corporate culture and conduct risk management.  For many in the financial services industry who are now able or required to work from home, this way of working may be the “new normal” for a considerable while.  Indeed, many employees have signaled that they prefer working from Hom, and some firms have seen cost savings through remote working. 
New risks also come with this change, the stress and financial pressure of the pandemic poses increased risk of misconduct.  Employers cannot afford to let workplace culture fall down the agenda.  When people aren’t in the office, it’s difficult for managers to ensure that all employees are behaving appropriately without tipping into objectionable Big Brother methods. 

This is why focusing on workplace culture and behavior is key during this crisis.  Some key considerations that have been long-running themes in the FCA’s work on culture include: purpose, leadership integrity, identifying risks and opportunities, psychological safety, diversity and inclusion, among others.

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