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Remote Working in Private Equity

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May 18, 2022 – The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed working life. In-person attendance from Monday to Friday, set working hours, and a fixed workplace in the office appear to be in large part a thing of the past. Flexible arrangements now rule most workplace environments. To understand the new work norms in a post COVID-era in private equity, Russell Reynolds Associates conducted a survey across PE in the DACH region.

Prior to the pandemic, about half of the survey participants already had the opportunity to work partially remotely. One third, however, said that they had only been able to work remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to most of the participants, an average of 25 percent of the teams in PE are currently working remotely. Almost 50 percent of respondents said that they would like to work remotely for one to two days. Less than 20 percent said that between three to four days or even five days would be desirable.

The Russell Reynolds report also said that about one-third of the PE specialists said that they would not like to see an increase in remote working after the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the “new normal” may be dependent on the individual opinion of employees and cannot be generalized for every company.

All respondents agreed that the fund they now work for will have a new way of working after the pandemic. In the majority of cases, they said, the change will involve a hybrid model of on-site office and remote work. Almost half of the PE specialists said that the fund they work for even has a “work from anywhere” policy allowing employees to work flexibly from wherever they want.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Working From Home
The benefits of remote working can be defined by two core tenets: Work life balance and less travel time, according to the Russell Reynolds report. The survey respondents often mentioned the time they had gained with their families and especially their children as an extremely positive aspect. In addition, private matters, they said, can often be dealt with more flexibly. Adaptability of working hours and the location of work was also cited, as well as the possibility of being able to work in a highly concentrated manner in certain situations.

The travel time savings came in both the morning commute to the office and the time spent traveling to external appointments. The commute can be avoided with remote work and appointments with external parties can now be held online. Unnecessary time and cost wastage can be curbed, and the added stress of constant travel has also been eliminated.

Nevertheless, a certain amount of time in the office on-site is appreciated and also felt to be important in order to revive the team spirit and collaboration, respondents said. “As always, there is no
one size fits all solution,” the Russell Reynolds report said. “Going forward, funds will likely run hybrid models with an emphasis on the office vs. work from home time. While we have all seen the benefits of more flexibility, we have also seen the downsides of not having personal interaction.”

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