7 Things Remote Forex Employees Need
The online nature of forex trading means many brokerage employees and partners work remotely on a regular basis.
Whether your team is usually remote or they’re just remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few things they’ll need when they’re not in the office.
1. Back office software that can be accessed remotely
In the past, most enterprise software required on-premises hardware, which made it difficult to work remotely. Now, most enterprise software is cloud-based, so employees can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.
That said, cloud-based software may need to be tweaked if employees suddenly switch to working from home when they’re typically in their office. The access for many software programs, especially those designed for financial service professionals, can be limited to computers on particular IP addresses.
You will need to add employees’ home IP addresses to your list of white-labeled addresses when your employees transition to telecommuting.
2. Good communication tools
Employees working remotely need to be able to interact with one another even though they’re not in an office together.
You likely already have communication tools in place that will suffice for a switch to remote work. Slack, Zoom, and Skype are popular tools that brokers might already use.
If you don’t have Slack channel for casual, non-work conversations, consider setting those up to help employees feel less isolated and to keep the office collegiality alive.
You may also want to establish some guidelines around when employees should use their cameras to connect to a call and when a simple voice call is acceptable.
3. App to record calls
Depending on your regulatory status and location, your investment brokerage may need to record all phone calls with clients.
If employees are working from home, they need a way to record client calls and then store those recordings. A variety of phone apps exist that can handle that.
If your employees only receive calls and do not make outgoing ones, then Google Voice might be a good option. Anyone with a Google account can use it, but they won’t be able to use their normal phone number. Instead, they’ll get a Google Voice number when they sign up for the app. The real benefit of this option is that it’s free and easy to use, but the limitations mean it won’t work for most brokerages.
If you’re looking for something with more capabilities, check out the App Store for iPhones or the Play Store for Android devices to find an app with the features you need. Many apps offer a paid version that delivers a lot of extra features.
If you or your employees have an Android, try the free version before paying for a premium one. Different versions of Android operating systems have different restrictions on recordings. An app may look like it’s working, but record nothing but silence.
Consider having employees email the audio files to a company email account, or attach them to the client’s profile in your forex CRM software.
Even if your employees can’t record the calls, they should still document them in a notes features in your CRM, according to ESMA.
4. App to reduce distractions
Staying focused when you’re working from home can be a significant challenge. However, when you can avoid distractions, you may find that you’re more productive than you are in your office.
Your phone will likely be one of the biggest distractions, so you should come up with a strategy to prevent yourself from using it for non-work reasons. And again, there’s an app for that.
If you just need some motivation to quit checking your phone, check out Forest. You plant a digital tree that will die if you navigate away from the app before a set amount of time. Use it often enough and you’ll see your own digital forest. If you upgrade to the premium version, you can use in-app rewards to have real trees planted.
If you’re looking for something a bit more intrusive, check out Space and TimeOff. Both of those disable your access to certain websites and apps so that you can’t access things that distract you. They also track your phone usage to help you realize when you’re wasting time.
Recommend these to your employees so that they focus on work during work hours.
5. Intuitive time zone converter
Forex brokers have to watch markets around the world regularly, so you’re likely comfortable checking times in other places. However, if your office moves to mostly remote work, then employees who might not have needed to consider time differences may need to start doing so.
Send your employees the link to a convenient online time zone converter, so that everyone stays on track. Every Time Zone has a nice layout that makes it simple to see your local time zone compared to other time zones around the world.
6. Good headphones
Switching to remote work means people will need to have meetings via conference calls or video conferencing. In either case, a good pair of headphones is a necessity.
In general, a pair of comfortable headphones that have a microphone attached will make taking conference calls and calling clients much easier.
You don’t necessarily need expensive, noise-canceling headphones to work from home – though you may want them if you have children or pets that make focusing difficult. Depending on your home-office set-up, you may also want to opt for wireless headphones.
7. Reliable surge protector
Keeping your computer plugged into a surge protector is a good idea in general. If you’re allowing company employees to take their work laptops or other office electronics home, then you should definitely recommend that they use a surge protector.
You should use a surge protector with a let-through voltage, the measure of how much extra voltage reaches your electronics, of no more than 400. Here, lower is better, but a protector that knocks a surge down under 400 volts will protect most of your electronics.
You can get a good surge protector for $30-$40 on Amazon, and recommend your employees do the same.
With the right tools and the right approach, working from home doesn’t need to change your routine too much. Working remotely can be a challenge. However, it can also help employees be more productive since they won’t be distracted by colleagues or office noise.