Home office in Tenerife

In the battle for the next generation, some financial start-ups offer their employees paid sabbaticals. Or the opportunity to work abroad. And a lot more.

A beach office with a sea view on a tropical beach: A working model for the fintech world?

IIn the battle to attract new talent, financial start-ups are pulling out all the stops. While in many bank office towers the only highlight in the office is a coffee kitchen with a fruit basket, employees at fintechs not only expect their own barista, but also table football, yoga courses – and recently the opportunity to work from anywhere. This week, the British neobank Revolut announced that employees can work abroad for up to 60 days.

In addition to the home office regulation, which theoretically also enables employees to work from home forever, the new regulation is particularly important in the pandemic. “After a year behind closed doors, we believe this new policy will be a huge success among our revoluters,” said Jim MacDougal of Revolut, who is responsible for staff.

Desire to work abroad

Of the almost 2,000 employees of the British group, 92 percent stated in an internal survey that they had perceived the more flexible forms of work as positive. The regulation was also introduced as a result of an internal Revolut survey; many of the international employees had expressed the wish to be able to work from abroad.

Chiara Baroni, one of Revolut’s employees, can also be reached from sunny climes. She is currently sitting in a café on Tenerife and working from there, she says on the phone. Your work does not suffer as a result, on the contrary. She is more productive, can work on the terrace or do sport in the morning on the beach. Baroni believes that you simply have more time and energy to live and work. She currently sees many from the tech or fintech scene on the island.

The traditional banking world is in stark contrast to this. Just recently, an internal survey among analysts at the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which leaked out, caused a sensation. There the young bankers complained about “inhuman” working conditions and working hours of over 100 hours.

In one quote, a banker wrote that he was not afraid of unemployment, but of what would happen to his body if he continued this lifestyle. The Goldman boss thinks little of flexible forms of work. At a conference, David Solomon called the home office “an aberration that we will correct as soon as possible”.

Six weeks of paid sabbatical

Many fintechs see it differently, of course. The British remittance service provider Wise, with 2,400 employees from 70 nations, increased its guideline for mobile working from 30 to 90 days last year. Employees can work in another country for up to three months. This would give them the opportunity to enjoy working and living in another country they do not know – or to visit the family and be with them, says von Wise.

Anyone who has worked at Wise for more than four years also receives a paid sabbatical of six weeks in addition to annual leave. Additionally there is 1000 pounds on top. After another four years, employees are again entitled to a sabbatical.

Four-day week at Fintech-Einhorn

The Berlin fintech unicorn Mambu, on the other hand, offers all employees a four-day work week from June to the end of August. Of course, there are also flexible home office arrangements. The most valuable European fintech, the Swedish payment service provider Klarna, is open to various employee benefits. For example, the company pays for a membership in the fitness studio or for emergency childcare.