The lockdown impact of COVID-19 is seemingly the new normal, having persisted for more than a month in most countries. It has also brought about a new culture of mass full-time remote working across the financial services sector. Whilst this sector has offered flexible working or remote working at times to some staff, the scale of this remote working endeavour is a complete novelty to the industry. In a sector that used to place face time at the heart of its operations, how is remote work impacting productivity and client communications? We dug into our data to find out.

Coronavirus mentions are less popular

Now that coronavirus is (unfortunately) a part of daily life rather than a novelty, we saw 37% less external and 68% less internal emails referring directly to coronavirus or COVID in the subject line in April compared to March. However, it doesn’t mean that the communications did not focus or mention this subject, it was just not mentioned in the title. Perhaps people are getting fatigued of the word and need more creative ways of referring to the current situation.

Send volumes remain consistently high

Email communications increased when COVID-19 came into our lives and it stayed that way. March and April send volumes are roughly the same after increasing by 36% in March when compared to February. The insignificant difference of 1.5% between March and April shows that the new level of frequency is here to stay.

Contact lists are slightly smaller

The contact lists used in April were around 20% smaller compared to those used in March. Potentially, either the most important measures undertaken by the company which had larger audiences were already sent at this point. Or, it could be that the lists are tighter after removing the bounces from all the emails sent in March. Some bounces could also be caused by people being furloughed or made redundant due to the crisis. That said, the bounces decreased to 2% compared to 3.6% in March.

Internal communications have decreased

Internal communications decreased by 5.6% in April when compared to March. Perhaps, the new measures around working remotely and business continuity have been the focus of communications in March for the US and EU, which brought about the spike in activity. The decreased communication seems to signify that workers are settling into their new working pattern.

Recipients remain engaged

Average open rates for all communications have remained high at 40.8% globally from January to April. However, it decreased in April across the board to 37%. However, internal emails have a higher open rate at 61.9% compared to external emails at 27.4%. Meanwhile, click rates have remained at a healthy level of 4.4% globally and are increasing in US, UK and France.

Remote working requires both mobile and desktop

Peaks in open times across the board occur in cycles for both devices. Mobiles are usually used before the start of the workday, during lunch and in the evening while desktops are used across the workday. This demonstrates that people remain connected throughout all times and are using both devices on a regular basis. Also, there is a bit of discipline when it comes to starting and ending the workday. This dispels the myth that remote work breeds less productivity because we are seeing communications and engagement increase throughout the lockdown. Even when employees are not monitored, they still do the work in a disciplined manner and put in extra hours when needed.

The Easter holiday was rife with activity

Easter is a public holiday throughout Europe. In some countries, people are given 1 or 2 days off. For instance, Canada, Finland, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom all celebrate Good Friday while over 110 countries including Ireland, UK and those in Central Europe observe Easter Monday. Despite the shorter week, clients sent 86% more emails in 2020 when compared to 2019 for the same timeframe. There was a 102% increase in external emails and 40% increase in internal emails. Open rates remained the same at 40% while clicks slightly decreased from 5.1% to 3.6% despite doubling the list size and increasing the frequency. This shows that everyone was working and connected despite the holidays. While the volume of communications was on average 17% lower due to a shorter week, it rebounded quickly the following week with a 30% increase across the board.

Sign up for our COVID-19 insights newsletter if you’d like to receive updates and insights from your peers as well as best practices related to email campaigns.
If you find that you need more practical help, check out our COVID packages.