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Preserving Human Interaction in the Internet Age

 

 

 

by Shanna McEachern, Field Marketing Manager, Americas, IPC

In an age of remote connectivity, is there still something to be said for real, physical proximity? At least one group of wealth managers would testify yes.

If you have ever operated within a collaborative team environment, you have likely come to recognize the understated value of face-to-face interaction. You may claim to ‘get more done’ when working remotely - away from the distractions of office colleagues - but might this be evidence in itself that remote workers are engaging in fewer conversations with their counterparts?

When team interaction is a necessary component of business success, perhaps it is corporate responsibility to both encourage and facilitate the face-to-face workflow. One large Canadian bank is doing just that.

By physically co-locating a group of their prominent wealth managers with their East coast municipal bonds trading desk, this insightful bank is focusing on oft-forgotten human interaction. This co-location provides the wealth managers with the ability to casually approach the desk at any time of day and strike up conversations around market conditions, investment propositions, inventory positions, or the ball game on last night (because more casual relationship building is important, too).

To determine if this seating arrangement was more incidental or intentional, I personally questioned the traders about the perceived value of this arrangement. The traders were quick to affirm yes – they enthusiastically supported this co-location because it encouraged more frequent and consistent conversations with the managers they supported. They noted, however, that their desk was simultaneously supporting a number of wealth managers spread across the country. How did they interact with those remote managers? By phone, email – the usual means. However, by their nature, picking up the phone or opening up a new email template typically requires more of a message than ‘Hey’. This perceived need to have greater purpose in initiating conversation may notably inhibit the more casual and frequent conversations that occur in a face-to-face environment.

Can this inhibition be overcome for remote interactions? Can a turret system facilitate so easy an interaction that it feels face-to-face, and so mirror that favored, physically proximate workflow? Thankfully, the answer to that is also yes. Bring on the hoots and intercom; bring on the IPC Unigy Pulse Devices.

By furnishing wealth managers with Pulse devices, IPC would introduce the ability to rapidly hoot or intercom traders not within earshot, thus bringing them perceptually closer through pure ease of communication. When striking up conversation is effortless and instantaneous, we believe those conversations will be more likely to occur, and those remote wealth managers would thus stay as up-to-date on market conditions as those sitting right next to the traders.

On that note, are other institutions as proactive as this Canadian bank in facilitating collaboration between their traders and those they interact with (wealth managers and otherwise)? In a time of internal emails and remote working, it’s time to start thinking about the value of real, human interaction and taking proactive steps to preserve it.

 Learn more about the IPC Pulse Device here.