Gone are the days when our parents would walk into the bank and patiently wait in line to transfer money to a friend or family member. Now, sending funds from North America to Europe, Asia or Africa is just a click away on an app.
When you think of the word “banking,” what comes to mind?
Convenient, digital and fast.
These words truly encapsulate the current banking industry whilst highlighting how our technologically advanced world has contributed to changing the narrative and the mundane connotations associated with traditional banks. According to a report by Global Market Insights, the digital banking industry is expected to register gains at over 6% CAGR from 2020 to 2026. With this in mind, an increasing number of banks are looking to digitalize their services in order to satisfy customer needs and stay competitive in the market.
Many banks have already started adopting software such as Temenos to increase customer personalization, improve product agility and enhance customer loyalty. The main goal is to completely revolutionize banking and say goodbye to the long wait times through a redesigned online service. But… is there more that banks can do to decrease customer pain points and reshape the current distribution channels?
As said by Ian Bradbury, CTO for financial services at Fujitsu, “Digital banking makes life easier for consumers; people are increasingly enjoying the simplicity of managing all their finances in one place, setting up automatic payments or making deposits, any time and anywhere, without the need to queue in a bank.” In simple terms, we want our lives to be as easy as possible and digital banking helps achieve this. Bradbury’s words also allude to the fact that consumers are not only craving a simpler banking experience, but perhaps a completely integrated system that allows them to manage their finances beyond the typical services offered. What I’m talking about is one online banking app that allows you to manage your finances when you’re dining out with your friends or shopping at your favourite store.
WeChat, more commonly known as Wēixìn (微信), is the biggest social media platform in China, with over 1.1 billion monthly users, that has created a digital wallet for consumers by integrating a payment gateway with a plethora of services. On the app, through WeChat Pay, you can make payments at any store, theatre or restaurant by scanning a QR code, manage your debit and credit card spending, pay your phone or utility bill, borrow money without collateral, and much more. Referring to WeChat as a social media platform is technically flawed as it does not come close to capturing the app’s capabilities in its entirety. WeChat Pay can also be used internationally, allowing Chinese consumers or anyone with a Chinese bank account to manage their finances across borders. This feature converts the local currency into CNY, based on real-time rates. If this doesn’t qualify as making life easier for consumers, I don’t know what does!
The future of banking does not consist of merely redesigning banking services online; there needs to be an integration of varying services that help consumers easily manage their finances in every aspect of their lives. Are Western countries able to learn from WeChat’s success and adopt a similar approach to a consumers’ banking experience, paving the way for imperative simpler processes and an increasingly digital world?
WeChat Mini Programs: The future has just begun
Tips to help you and your team continue productivity when working remotely
For many during the coronavirus outbreak, the new norm will be working remotely as workers practice social distancing. But that brings inconsistencies and imbalance of daily routine to the newcomers of working remotely, as examined by CBS News contributor Derek Thompson in his recent article for The Atlantic, "The coronavirus is creating a huge stressful experiment in working from home."
Although it may be a stressful shift for some people, nailing down a few simple lessons and getting into a routine will help you to stay motivated and allow you to continue to be productive in the remote working environment.
Affinity was built as a remote work company. We have been working from home for the past 5 years, we consider ourselves as veterans at how to be productive in a remote world while maintaining balance. We are taking advantage of the vast technology and tools available to continue to be as productive as ever during this challenge.
You are likely being flooded with news and updates on covid-19, and although it is important to stay informed, we must remember to not let it overwhelm us and to maintain focus when working.
Below we are sharing some everyday tips that have proven to be effective for the team at Affinity. Hopefully they will help you if you are new to working from home or are struggling to maintain productivity.
Maintain Regular Hours – utilize free time!
Work as though you would in the office. Now that you don’t have to spend time on the commute, take the extra time in the mornings/evenings to do something you enjoy. Get creative, read a new book, cook a new recipe, learn something new, get active!
Take advantage of Technology
Get familiar with tools to keep the team connected and meetings efficient and productive. Calls, texts and emails are only a short-term solution. Using tools like Microsoft Teams are effective when it comes to collaboration and communication. Make conference calls fun by wearing a prop or a funny outfit and do prizes each week for the funniest outfit.
Utilise the extra time in the mornings and evenings to take advantage of the outdoors. Set your alarm and go for a walk or a run. Take short breaks throughout the day, remember to walk away from the screen and get some fresh air. Aim to hit 2,000 steps each time you leave. This will help you to keep stimulated and clear your mind.
Set up a working area at home where you know disturbance will be minimal. Create a boundary between work and leisure (Don't work from the couch!). Taking short breaks and allowing ourselves a change of scenery will help to maintain that focus throughout the day.
Being sociable sounds a bit contradictory considering the whole nation is practicing social distancing but it’s important not to isolate yourself entirely. Self-isolating can create a feeling of loneliness during these times in a working from home environment. Take the time to connect with friends and family on your breaks and use facetime so you feel as though you are there with them.
Resource your team
Take this time to check in with colleagues you haven’t spoken to in some time, get the team involved in virtual lunch and learns, organize mid-week online Pictionary or Trivia nights to keep engagement strong and spirits high.
List of Useful Resources
- Microsoft Teams
- Time management
- Staying organized
- Games & Face to face social network
Last week the Affinity team were taken on an all-expenses paid trip to Mexico in the area of Cabo San Lucas. We had 29 members of our team that joined us on this trip, consisting of recruiters, account managers, support staff, and leadership.
At Affinity we work hard and play hard. When we hit our annual target together, all team members are eligible for the company retreat. We are strong on corporate culture and give people the freedom to have the work life balance they want while striving together as a team, holding each other accountable for reaching successful outcomes.
We stayed at Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, a luxurious all-inclusive resort perched on the tip of the Baja California Peninsula with spectacular views of the Sea of Cortez from the hotel. The hotel boasts 7 unique restaurants, buffets, swim up bars, an adult only pool and a pristine beach on the Sea of Cortez. Along with amenities including spa, volleyball and water aerobics which made for an unforgettable vacation with the team.
On the Saturday morning we took a private shuttle to the Marina of Cabo San Lucas, then boarded a luxury boat for a private whale watching experience. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, we saw whales and were served refreshments. That evening we enjoyed a 5-course meal at a beachfront grill restaurant at the resort. After a few well needed espresso martinis we headed into San Jose to Mixology, a fusion cocktail bar who had well know European Dj’s playing on the night.
On Sunday we wrapped up the trip with Diner En Blanc at the Hyatt. A delicious private 4-course dinner was plated to us. We ate, drank, played music, and then hit up the Karaoke bar where some of us stole the spotlight, and others not so much.
The next morning we chilled by the pool before checking out and heading home. The end to what was an incredible trip, a special time to bond and share memories with the team with experiences that will not be forgotten.
If you are interested in a new opportunity, come join us in working together towards our annual target to get to Mexico 2021.
Affinity will be growing the team this year with our offices in Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto. If you have an interest in working with us and would like to join the team please contact us below!