work from home
Business Resilience Editor's Choice World-Region-Country

Is Work From Home Still Working For Insured Nomads, M1K LLC, Small Change, AZA Finance?

Amid rising inflation and interest rates, and the growing number of cyber threats, businesses are constantly evolving in order to be resilient. This month, The Fintech Times is highlighting how businesses are showing this resilience against a myriad of factors – some within, and some beyond, their control.

So far this month, we have discussed the challenges associated with working from home (WFH) and how employers can protect their WFH employees. Having overcome challenges and put in the groundwork to protect workers, employers can be left wondering – was it worth it? To find out if work from home is in fact still working or if it was just a pandemic workaround, we reached out to the industry.

A pre-pandemic working style
Andrew Jernigan, CEO, Insured Nomads
Andrew Jernigan, CEO, Insured Nomads

Andrew Jernigan, CEO, Insured Nomads, the insurtech, explains how WFH has been built into the company’s core and that despite it no longer being a necessity, it isn’t going anywhere. He explains: “Prior to the pandemic we adopted a work from home/work from anywhere model. It is still thriving for our globally distributed team at Insured Nomads, an insurtech providing medical/wellbeing/safety for the modern company, remote workers and travellers.

“It has been a journey of discovery, trial and error. Learning to apply the technology and processes that are vital for a successful WFH/WFA application. Being a young company (four years old) with employees from many cultures, languages, and time zones there has been a learning curve in adapting to fellow teammates. Both in terms of operating style, expectations and norms from local culture that must be meshed with those of other cultures of teammates around the globe.

“The lack of in-person social settings for camaraderie and understanding of management styles. Work from home is here to stay at Insured Nomads, but we prefer to grant the freedom to work from the location of choice.

It’s your attitude that makes or breaks WFH
Michael Edesess, Adjunct associate professor, M1K LLC
Michael Edesess, Adjunct associate professor, M1K LLC

For Michael Edesess, Adjunct associate professor, M1K LLC, the financial modelling and advisory service provider, the success of WFH depends on the person, not the company necessarily. He explains how it takes a certain type of person to be content with the solitude of working from home.

“I have been working from home – or wherever I have been at the time. This has included a Thai island, Machu Picchu, and many other places. On one occasion (unbeknownst to the other participants) on a conference call from the summit of Colorado’s highest mountain – for 40 years, since 1982. I was not alone.

“For years, my remote work consisted mainly of writing and updating computer programs and mathematical consulting for the financial industry. More recently, it has shifted to writing articles, many of them having the purpose of debunking conventional wisdoms in the finance field.

“For example, the notion that rebalancing a portfolio necessarily adds value as compared to buy-and-hold, or that investors can greatly increase their investment returns by ‘tax loss harvesting’. But the latter, too, required writing an elaborate computer program to determine the practice’s true value, which is far less than the tax-loss harvesters claim.

“Working from home is much easier now of course. Instead of copying from my hard drive to diskette and sending it (my first modern hard disk drive, a Tallgrass, was huge and very noisy and held what was then an astonishing 20 megabytes of data and cost $4000), I can now send it in an instant through the internet by any one of a number of means. If working from home was possible 40 years ago, it is surely possible now. But it seems to require a certain type of personality, happy with solitude.”

Missing face-to-face banter
Eve Picker, founder at Small Change work from home
Eve Picker, founder at Small Change

Eve Picker, founder at Small Change, the investment platform explains that while work from home does still work for the company, there is an element of human interaction that cannot be replaced with online interactions.

“We’ve been a remote company from day one. It’s difficult finding experts for a nascent industry in a small city like Pittsburgh so our team is flung far and wide. Currently, our team lives and works from Cincinnati, Butler (in Pennsylvania), Philadelphia, Chicago and Melbourne, Australia.

“The developers who list on our platform are also located nationally — videoconferencing has always been an important tool. Even meetings with the SEC and FINRA (the Financial Regulatory Agency) are conducted online. I split my time between home and the office. The internet has made that a fluid possibility. But when I’m not at the office I miss my tiny team. There is nothing quite like face-to-face banter with my colleagues.”

An integral part of the culture
Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and Founder at Maneuvre work from home
Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and founder at AZA Finance

For Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and founder at AZA Finance, the currency trading platform, WFH can only work if there’s clear communication of company goals and how they’re being achieved. She explains: “Flexible working has always been an essential part of our fintech’s culture. Global teams can’t always operate from physical offices – especially for executives and founders who are fundraising.

“Pre-covid, we supported partial WFH as a way to encourage borderless collaboration. During covid, our teams across Europe, the UK and Africa maintained their home office setups and we were able to continue working without issue.

“We still WFH in a hybrid model, and we adapt it regularly based on preferences for office support and in-team meetings. Long-term WFH structures are doable, if there’s clear communication of company goals and careful track of how we are achieving them in a positive management approach. We love tools like Lattice for helping us track this, as well as keeping regular meeting agendas.

“Overall, we reward performance. We also have a new focus on larger team gatherings where people from different offices can meet in person. While more work to coordinate, it levelled up our productivity and product advancement. I think many fintech companies will follow this direction – flexible options coupled with in-person meet-ups to supercharge certain projects.

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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