The Covid-19 coronavirus has caused widespread upheaval for businesses in the UK, and among those is fintech startup TrueLayer.
Based in London’s Clerkenwell district, TrueLayer provides open banking APIs to support real-time payments and data access, with clients including Monzo, Revolut and ClearScore.
However, if you were to visit the startup’s office at present, you would find it deserted, as in response to the coronavirus, TrueLayer has switched to entirely remote working.
“We don’t like to make any compromises when it comes to the safety and health of our team,” says Emma Mayer, head of communications at TrueLayer.
“This is why we made the decision in the first week of March to make our entire team to work from home. We implemented this policy at the start of last week.”
How TrueLayer is making remote working work
As part of the shift to remote working, TrueLayer has made the unusual decision to give each of its staff £150 to cover their home working setups, which is intended to be for the purchase of equipment or furniture, such as new desks or chairs.
This ensures that staff are well equipped to work from home comfortably, but the company has also taken steps to help support employees’ mental health.
“We know that working from home for a prolonged period can be a difficult adjustment, which is why we also drew up new procedures to ensure that everyone is in regular virtual contact with each other – both to help business to function as normal and to make sure everyone is keeping their spirits up,” says Mayer.
“Very simply, things like ensuring that webcams are on for meetings can make a difference in making sure we don’t feel isolated while we’re practicing social distancing.
“We have also kept our staff updated with the latest government advice and we have robust sick pay policies in place to ensure that no one will lose out if they do get ill.”
Technology in place
While some companies have scrambled to create suitable technology setups to support widespread remote working, TrueLayer has supported the approach for some time, making it more resilient to the changes the coronavirus outbreak has required.
“Since TrueLayer was founded, we’ve had a number of flexible working policies in place, including the ability for our staff to work from home or remotely at least one day a week,” explains Mayer.
“As a result, we’ve had all the technology in place we need to scale up to enable our entire team to work from home for a prolonged period of time.
“We also have a very active Slack channel which keeps all of our teams across the world in constant communication.”
As with many startups in the fintech space, in normal times TrueLayer would have been regularly sending staff to key events around the world, but has had to put this practice on hold for the foreseeable future.
However, Mayer is optimistic about the startup’s future involvement in events.
“We made the call quite early on to stop attendance to international events and postpone our own events,” she says.
“The events industry has generally responded very quickly with the cancellation of major global tech conferences. The organisers of these events have been very responsible and we’re in touch with them regarding how we can continue to support their events when they get rescheduled later in the year.”
When it comes to other company and product announcements, however, TrueLayer has been relatively unaffected by the coronavirus.
“We haven’t made any changes to our planned announcements and launches yet, however, we are closely monitoring the situation and will respond accordingly.”
TrueLayer and the coronavirus: Long term changes?
Given the company’s shift to remote working, does TrueLayer plan to continue this setup after the coronavirus measures have ended?
According to Mayer, this is unlikely.
“We don’t anticipate any long-term operational changes,” she says.
“While having very flexible working policies in place is a must for a modern business and working from home for the next few months is something we’re operationally very capable of doing, we do know there is no substitute for the social and collaborative benefits of having people working physically in the same place.
“When this is over, we’re really looking forward to getting the team back together.”