Complex Made Simple

SAXO Bank: WFH came naturally to us but COVID-19 to create new working paradigm

How does a digital-centric organization deal with COVID-19 and WFH staff operations? Easily

Digital has always come first at Saxo Bank, largely because we are a FinTech company Our flexible operational infrastructure and digital framework have allowed us to set up a seamless WFH model We expect to see an extended period of market dislocation and unusually high volatility

Established in 1992, Saxo Bank is a Danish investment bank specializing in online trading and investment. They are  leading fintech and regtech specialists, connecting traders, investors and partners to more than 35,000 instruments – across all asset classes – from a single account.

AMEinfo asked the bank on how the coronavirus impacted the business.

1. How have the lockdown/pandemic and remote working affected your operations in terms of Retail spaces/Sales, Contracts, Workforce and Deliverables

The public health measures and social lockdowns implemented by governments all around the world to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly presented unique challenges to global businesses in every sector. 

Thankfully, Saxo Bank has been able to effectively continue business as usual on most fronts. Digital has always come first at Saxo Bank, largely because we are a FinTech company that predates the term’s existence. This system of operations has allowed a smooth transition to working from home and our entire workforce is operating efficiently and remotely without any disruption in service. This efficiency has enabled us to deliver the best-in-class services our clients both expect and deserve, whilst our team maintain responsible social distancing in numerous international markets. 

In the short term, this pandemic has radically transformed the working space for us, as well as many other businesses worldwide. Our workforce remains engaged and our deliverables have not been affected thanks to our flexibility, ease of adaptability and our digital-first approach to business. 

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2. How are you managing your employees during remote work and how do you ensure productivity, security, while managing outflows?

Communication, coordination and cooperation have always been the keys to successful operations; in these challenging times, these core pillars of functionality are more important than ever. 

Our flexible operational infrastructure and digital framework have allowed us to set up a seamless WFH model, ensuring optimal levels of productivity are continued outside of normal office working practices.

We work hard to reinforce the safety and security messages that we regularly receive from the UAE authorities, and from senior management in our Denmark headquarters. Like most other businesses, we communicate regularly through video technology to maintain an element of human interaction in these difficult times. 

With these measures we are ensuring that employee engagement and motivation stays high, and that Saxo Bank’s industry-leading service standards and business productivity are maintained.

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3. What are your short-to-mid-term plans?

As we are all seeing, circumstances have evolved very quickly throughout this period. Saxo Bank continues to operate as effectively as we can while following the guidelines set out by the UAE government. Our team is working hard to ensure that Saxo Bank’s industry-leading service standards continue to meet local compliance and regulatory framework. As we move forward, we will continue to assess ways to improve our processes for the benefit of our people and our clients.  

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4. What will the long-term impact of the virus pandemic be on your company and your sector?

It is difficult to gauge the long-term impacts of a continuously evolving situation like this – we are in unchartered territory. However, the pandemic has provided a sharp reminder of the two-sided risks associated with global financial markets. 

We expect to see an extended period of market dislocation and unusually high volatility. These scenarios present market opportunities and we fully expect our clients to identify and seek out such opportunities. As always, our team will be available to support clients throughout. 

5. Post the pandemic, what are the takeaways from this crisis that will reshape your business/operating model going forward (future of work, working from home, co-working, video conferencing)?

As a digital-first company, Saxo Bank has been ahead of the curve and we are well-placed to shift our operating model from office based to WFH with minimal impact. Conversely, it has become evident that aspects of our work and processes can benefit from remote working.

Going forward, I believe we can take the best of both models to reshape our business and create a new working paradigm. We would never want to abandon face-to-face contact with our clients, our partners and each other, or lose the value of the social aspect of working in groups. However, it would be unwise to ignore the lessons learned from this situation and from working remotely at home – from preparedness, to the time and cost savings, plus the positive impact of co-working and video conferencing.