The banking boom may well be driven by digitization but it’s ultimately employees that win the day by setting service standards. Banks need to step up and adapt to changing employee demands otherwise, for them, the boom could well end up being a bust. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

The banking boom may well be driven by digitization but it’s ultimately employees that win the day by setting service standards. Banks need to step up and adapt to changing employee demands otherwise, for them, the boom could well end up being a bust. 

 

India’s financial sector is booming as the growth of digitization and cashless payments have driven an unprecedented number of people into the banking fold. But it has also thrust wellness practices in the financial services sector into the spotlight as employees cope with a higher workload writes Sameer Joshi, Vice President, Marketing (B2B), Godrej Interio.

According to estimates by IBEF, the Indian fintech space is set to grow to Rs. 6.2 trillion by 2025. But as per the survey conducted on 250 bankers by Godrej Interio’s Workplace and Ergonomic Research Cell found, both public and private banks still have some way to go towards creating workspaces conducive to employee wellbeing.

Banking sector executives have some of the highest pressure and stressful jobs out there and companies have put wellness measures like medical examinations, employee assistance programmes, mindfulness programmes, and expanded insurance plans in place. But these are policies written into a company’s HR code and, while they are welcome additions, employers need to move beyond programmes and paper initiatives and incorporate wellness into workspace design. This includes setting up ergonomic furniture, laying out workspaces to enable free movement, and creating rejuvenating spaces, through the use of biophilic elements and natural lighting, for employees on their breaks to unwind.

A study by Godrej Interio revealed that 41% of bank employees who took part in the survey worked at least nine hours a day while 28% worked for over 10 hours. Working primarily in relationship manager, bank teller, and data processing officer roles, these employees spent most of their day sitting in front of a screen. What’s more, many of them spend their day using furniture that’s not ergonomically suited to their long working hours.

Nearly half the survey respondents said that while their seats were height adjustable, they had fixed armrests that could not be raised or lowered. This means they’re working with their forearms and elbows unsupported for long hours.

Meanwhile, 41% of the respondents said their chair backs could not be reclined. Survey respondents also found themselves working at desks that were cluttered, due to a lack of storage space, and whose height couldn’t be adjusted resulting in severely restricted legroom underneath. All of these limitations mean most banking sector employees find themselves being forced to adopt postures that are not ergonomic.

This is a concern because it can take a devastating toll on their health. Many studies have shown that incorrect sitting posture at work is among the primary causes of musculoskeletal diseases (MSD). MSDs are injuries that affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.

The Godrej Interio study found that 64% of the banking employees surveyed suffered from MSDs. Key pain areas were the lower back, neck, and eyes which can all be traced back to incorrect posture and excessive screen time. Add to this factors like poor lighting and ventilation, temperature extremes, and the lack of adequate acoustics and it’s clear that modern-day banking workspace is far from wellness-friendly.

Companies as a result need to act. Yes, overhauling the workspace is an investment, an expense. But the cost of losing your best and brightest talent is arguably higher. Organizations must help teams deal with the limiting repercussions of poor ergonomics. In addition to fostering a healthy workplace, employers must support employee happiness, productivity, and growth through their actions.

The banking boom may well be driven by digitization but it’s ultimately employees that win the day by setting service standards. Banks need to step up and adapt to changing employee demands otherwise, for them, the boom could well end up being a bust.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members