The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed nearly every facet of American day-to-day life to where most citizens do not see our daily routines ever returning to what we once considered “normal.” When we say every facet, we mean every facet. Mental, physical, familial, financial, personal, and professional. A lot of the effects we’ve felt from the pandemic have been less than savory, but this pandemic is also changing some things for the better. Below are just a few life lessons many Americans have learned from this pandemic (so far) regarding banking and finances.
Prior the coronavirus outbreak, there was a growing rate of stores and businesses no longer accepting cash. While this may seem like a natural progression as technology and digital banking grow, this cashless model was actually met with a lot of backlash. Just six months ago in January 2020 (which may feel like years to many of us), New York passed a bill banning businesses from rejecting cash payments nearly unanimously.
Many organizations have feared a work-from-home model for years, worrying about the risks that come with more distractions, less accountability, and less productivity for employees, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to adopt work-from-home procedures despite their apprehension. However, many have found their fears put at ease—this actually works. Not only do employees have more free time, lending way to better quality of life, and get to work in sweatpants, but they’re doing it with just as much, if not more, productivity. Many predict that working from home is here to stay.
The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index has dropped by 30 percent since February, from 101 down to 71.8—the lowest it’s been since December 2011. Unemployment is at its highest since the Great Depression, and many families and businesses are already unable to pay their rent or mortgage among other expenses. Many citizens and experts have expressed fear that America might experience another depression. “We have never seen anything like this," says Princeton University professor and economist Alan Blinder regarding the recent number of unemployment claims. “This looks likely to be deep enough to qualify as a depression."
With a growing number of companies implementing work-from-home policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it looks like many of us will be working from home for an indefinite amount of time. While many people are used to part-time or fully remote work, this is a bit of a culture shock for those of us who are used to our office setting. We’d like to share some tips for a more productive workday from people who have successfully worked from home for years.
Jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields have grown faster than the overall growth of employment in the U.S. Since 1990, overall employment has grown 34 percent while STEM jobs have grown 79 percent, according to data from Pew Research Center.
Research by The National Center for Women & Information Technology shows that, as of 2018, 57 percent of professional occupations are held by women, but only 26 percent of the 17.3 million people working in these fields are women. Needless to say, women in tech are the minority. I had the opportunity to chat with April Wolfe, a member of our Install team at Teslar to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a woman working in the technology field.
There are two types of relationships with technology: digital immigrants and digital natives. Digital immigrants are those who have integrated into technology and did not grow up with it, like today’s older generations. Digital natives are younger people, mostly children and adolescents, who were born into technology. As digital natives are entering adulthood, we’re seeing a shift in the “American Dream.” Young people are becoming more and more detached from tradition. Less people are getting married, buying homes, having children, attending church, or joining political parties, among other things.
First Principles thinking is an idea popularized by entrepreneur Elon Musk, although it has roots with other minds like philosopher Aristotle, inventor Johannes Gutenberg, and military strategist John Boyd.3 First principles thinking is like taking a scientific approach to your thought processes. A first principle was defined by Aristotle as, “the first basis from which a thing is known.”3 As Musk describes, “you kind of boil things down to the most fundamental truths […] and then reason up from there.”2
It’s true nobody likes change, but it’s particularly frustrating to face changes that seem completely unnecessary. Chris Maher, CEO of OceanFirst Financial, noticed the biggest problem when going digital was a cultural and training gap among employees, “not surprisingly, if you work all day within a bank branch, you don’t personally have a big need to use mobile banking and wouldn’t be an advocate of that technology because it’s not important to you in your life.”
As digital banking continues to grow in popularity, it’s evident that the traditional model of banking is not coming back. Yes, there is still a demand, and therefore need, for in-person interactions and brick-and-mortar stores (read more on that here and here), but many aspects of traditional banking are more than likely gone for good. If the future of banking is digital, we can’t help but wonder, what does that mean for the future of banking jobs?