(From the April 2022 Edition of eFORUM)
By Kelly Maxwell
As the easing of pandemic restrictions continue, advisors are also contending with the idea of going back to the office.
This isn’t to say that all advisors have been working remotely for the past few years. Our coaches have seen advisor clients back in the office for quite some time, but staying remote with clients. On the other hand, for many advisory teams, especially in Ontario, they have worked remotely for the majority of the pandemic. Going back to the office will be a big change again.
This raises the question, what is next for your team? Do you choose to go back to a fully in-person workplace, continue to work remotely, or consider a hybrid of the two?
One silver lining of the pandemic is that leaders have discovered that the workplace can be flexible.
We spoke to our business coach April-Lynn Levitt about what her clients are doing.
A number of her advisor clients have allowed some team members to continue working from home under special circumstances. For instance, if they are immunocompromised or living with someone who is. Another team is experimenting with a four-and-a-half-day work week where they get every Friday afternoon off, with no impact to their salary or benefits.
Most of her clients have decided on a hybrid model so they can reap the benefits of both work environments. For example, three days in the office and two days at home.
Perhaps not everyone on your team needs to be in the office every day. If you have an effective team, they likely all have different personality types and excel in different environments. For example, some may prefer being in the office working collaboratively while others may feel they are getting more done when working from home.
To be mindful of preference, ask your team for feedback. A hybrid model caters to everyone’s needs and the flexibility can be attractive for new hires as well as for keeping your existing employees happy.
Consider the benefits of the 3:2 hybrid work model discussed above:
- With the time spent face-to-face, you can get back to focusing on strengthening relationships and nurturing your company culture.
- Critical initiatives like vision meetings, hiring, or collaborative strategies can happen in person.
- Since only three days are spent in the office, your time spent face-to-face will be focused and purposeful.
- Offering a few days of remote working can make the transition back to the office easier, especially for those who have young families or long commutes.
- It’s also more cost-effective with gas prices being so high right now.
- If you do plan on making a hire, you have a broader candidate pool if the employee doesn’t need to be local.
- You may decide you don’t need as much office space as before, thus cutting down on operation costs.
What you decide will depend on what works best for your style as a leader and an advisor. Consider your dealer and any guidelines you need to follow. Ask your clients to determine what combination of in-person and virtual that they prefer going forward. Introduce a new schedule as a trial with the option to change if there are unforeseen negative impacts on clients and the team.
Our team at The Personal Coach has always been a true virtual team since its establishment in 2002. Before the pandemic, we would go to our clients’ offices so we never had an office. We are now starting again to see some teams in person and it will likely be a combination of in-person and virtual going forward.
To keep our communication, company results, and culture strong between our 14-person team we do:
- Monthly virtual conference calls
- Two in-person planning meetings (with the option to dial in virtually if needed)
- One in-person marketing meeting
- Monthly in-person meetings for shareholders
- Virtual project team meetings as needed
- Short virtual meetings/phone calls for specific to-dos
Whatever you decide, you have options and you need to do what is best for you, your team, and your clients.
Kelly Maxwell, BBA, is a marketing coach at The Personal Coach.