The covid-19 pandemic has kept workers confined to their homes for months on end, significantly increasing the role of digital tools in keeping a firm connected. In heavily regulated sectors like finance, the sheer volume of communications that is now generated over digital channels is raising crucial questions about whether, how and to what extent organisations should exercise oversight of employee communications.
The following report developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit commissioned by Behavox, explores shifting attitudes towards internal communication oversight in remote working environments, based on findings from a survey of 503 executives in the financial services industry in North America, Europe and Asia. The survey found that:
Nearly two-thirds of finance executives believe that remote employees are only moderately following company guidelines regarding the security of confidential information, and just one in five believe that staff are following these guidelines completely. This is particularly troubling given that more than two-thirds of respondents believe that non-compliant behaviour has increased in remote working environments, while 19% believe it has increased significantly.
Six out of ten respondents believe that extensive communications oversight has become more important since the covid-19 pandemic began, as conventional methods for ensuring compliance—such as identifying trades at irregular times, recording telephone calls and restricting the use of private devices—are compromised or made impossible. The increased use of home networks and devices, along with employee-purchased tools, requires new and more extensive approaches to communications oversight.
One-third of respondents see advantages in stronger oversight that extend beyond compliance, especially in terms of increasing employee productivity. This suggests that compliance investments could deliver positive associated benefits. While there are challenges to increasing oversight, such as growing distrust of compliance teams and perceived privacy infringements, the majority of respondents (87%) believe that government regulations around internal communications in the financial services industry will become more stringent in the future.