Many financial advisors are concerned that remote work impacts how clients perceive them as professionals. However, the MQ Research Consortium discovered that 57.04% of clients actually prefer virtual meetings to in-person consulting. This means that more than half of clients want their advisor to provide at least some online services or may even be ready to switch to an online-only format. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of creating a home office financial advisor setup and give helpful tips on how to get ready for remote work.
Can financial advisors work from home?
One of the key takeaways from the MQ Research Consortium report is that switching to an online format affected only 18% of communication topics and tasks. They even found that virtual meetings could sometimes work better than in-person ones. Moreover, skilled financial advisors and planners state that having or not having a physical office doesn’t impact one’s credibility. With that in mind, the question of having a physical office or completely switching to remote work is up to you and depends on the type of clients you have and their preferences.
As for the benefits of remote work, there are plenty both for you and your clients. Let’s check them out.
- Flexibility. You can work from anywhere, and you can easily adjust your schedule to your client’s needs, effectively overcoming geographical restrictions and time zone constraints. Nothing will bind you to one place, as you can set up a remote office from anywhere in the world and still create a top-notch client experience.
- Better client acquisition opportunities. When you use digital marketing as your primary client acquisition method, it’s much easier to track acquisition and retention if you provide services online. You also won’t have to deal with cases where it’s impossible to provide services to potentially interested clients because they live in remote locations.
- Higher productivity. Working from home can positively impact your efficiency, as you don’t have to go to your office every day. Your day can start with actual work instead of thoughts about commuting. Moreover, remote workers often have an opportunity to set their schedules in ways that fit them and their clients better.
Working from home tips
A remote work model isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth trying and can bring you more freedom and clients if you are careful when you make the switch. To make it work for you, follow the home office financial advisor setup tips below.
#1 Thoughtfully transition offline clients to online clients
Not every client is ready to transition to an online format. And this doesn’t necessarily depend on your client’s age or status, though there are behavioral and communication patterns that you can spot across specific age groups that could help you assess their readiness. That’s why it’s important for you to keep your clients’ interests in mind when you want to set up a successful home office business. Follow the recommendations below to improve your client experience while you’re in the process of switching to online services.
1. Provide onboarding
The tools you plan to use when providing online services to communicate with your clients, e-sign documents, or share reports might be unfamiliar to your clients. You have to ensure your clients understand how to use them. Otherwise, offline meetings will still be their preference, and eventually, you may lose them. Create a guide that will carefully walk them through the process of using a chat or a video conferencing tool, and show them how they can reschedule or cancel a consultation with you online.
2. Facilitate the transition
The switch to online services shouldn’t be abrupt. You have to prepare your clients step by step, reassuring them that they will be able to get the same services online and that virtual services will be even easier for them. The same is true for cases when you switch from one booking and scheduling platform to another. Don’t keep your clients in the dark.
3. Describe the benefits
If you plan to switch to an online-only services format, you must ensure that your clients will support you in that step. It’s difficult to predict if they will be okay with an online format, so you will have to simultaneously persuade them and address their concerns. For example, if your client is concerned about communication issues, you can reassure them that online communication will make you even more open to communication and that you’ll be there for your clients to support them when needed.
4. Provide alternatives
It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into facilitating the transition; you still have to be prepared for the fact that some clients might prefer offline services to online. That’s why it’s vital to provide alternatives when your client is not ready to make the full switch to online services. For example, you could still provide reports offline, but scheduling and initial consultations would happen online.
5. Don’t push
It takes time to get accustomed to new routines, and even though you might feel confident when using the tools to provide online services, your clients might not share your sentiments. Make sure you’re not pushy when you offer online services. Be prepared that, in some cases, switching to an online format might take longer than you expected or may not happen at all.
#2 Mix online and offline work
According to Remote Work Survey by PwC, 69% of financial service companies expect ⅗ of their workforce to work from home at least once a week. Moreover, 61% of CFOs said they would make positions permanently virtual if remote work fit well with the job. Even though you may be a solo financial consultant, most likely, you have already envisioned which responsibilities and tasks you can carry out online, so there is no need for you to be in your offline office all the time. If you’re looking for ways to partially digitize your workflow yet still intend to hold offline client meetings, try to separate tasks between those that can be done online and offline. See if this works for you and helps increase your efficiency.
#3 Create a healthy workspace
When you decide to work from home, ensure you have everything you need set up, from a fast internet connection to hardware and software and a space where no one will bother you. Remember that being distracted is one of the major causes of lower productivity.
It will take you 23 minutes to refocus on a task after being interrupted.
How to set up a home office for remote work
Creating a perfect financial advisor home office setup will require you to pay attention to both hardware and software and make some adjustments in your workflow.
Check out the tips below on setting up effective remote work processes.
#1 Upgrade your home office
To ensure you are prepared to work remotely, you need to get the essential hardware and make sure it’s up and running.
To providing services online and efficiently work from home, we recommend that you have:
|1.||a fast Internet connection||
|2.||a laptop with Wi-Fi connectivity||
|5.||an ergonomic office chair||
|6.||an office desk||
|8.||a standing file organizer||
This list could be extended with extra options, like an ergonomic keyboard or an optic mouse. It’s always up to you how much you would like to invest in your hardware. However, we strongly recommend you regularly check if everything is in working order. Ensure your laptop battery is charged before you start your working day. Be prepared for electricity outages and internet disruptions, just in case.
#2 Get used to multitasking
Working from home means distractions, even if you have a separate room for an office. According to a study on the cost of interrupted work provided by the University of California, Irvine, people in interrupted conditions experience more stress and frustration due to higher workloads. While they might perform better and work faster, ultimately, they lose their efficiency.
That’s why you need to learn to prioritize your tasks to feel less time pressure and stress. There are multiple ways to do this. One of the most popular ways to divide tasks into categories is using the Eisenhower Matrix.
To work with the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, you will need to separate your tasks into four categories depending on their importance and urgency.
- The tasks that are most important and urgent are the ones you should do immediately.
- The tasks that are not as urgent yet are important have to be scheduled. It is also recommended to divide them into several stages to feel less of a workload and reduce procrastination.
- The tasks that aren’t important but still are urgent can be delegated to someone, as they could distract you.
- As for the tasks that aren’t important and are not urgent, you can safely eliminate them as a distraction that won’t benefit your business in any way.
Being able to distinguish tasks that are important for your business will help you more efficiently organize your schedule.
Also, it’s a good idea to schedule your tasks and add important details to the task description to reduce the chances you’ll forget something essential. To do this, you can use a CRM system, like the one ExpertBox provides.
With Expertbox, you’ll be able to create as many tasks as you need, set a due date, add a link that will let you know if each particular task is connected to one of your clients, add details, and change task status.
#3 Set a schedule
As you get more clients, it becomes more difficult to schedule appointments. There are fewer free time slots, and sometimes clients ask you to reschedule or cancel a meeting. Eventually, this could lead to chaos in your schedule. You have to put effort into updating all booking information to let your clients know when they can schedule a meeting with you. Moreover, there is a chance that someone misses a meeting if it is moved several times. That is another reason why you should invest in a powerful scheduling solution that will assist you and your clients and make the booking and scheduling process easier.
Use a scheduling tool to set meetings with clients and provide them with a user-friendly self-scheduling interface with rescheduling and cancellation rules. Also, automatically inform your clients when they successfully book a meeting and notify them before the consultation starts.
Get 14 days of ExpertBox all-in-one solution for free and experience all the advantages of efficient scheduling tools.
#4 Set your home office apart with software
Having powerful hardware, mastering time management, and gaining scheduling skills can bring you halfway to your goal of working from home with the same or even better efficiency as you would have in an ordinary office. However, it’s still not enough for success. To have a competitive advantage over other financial advisors that work remotely, you have to pay attention to the smallest details, and this includes your choice of software.
Currently, many software options can assist you with various types of tasks. Let’s overview software categories to learn what solutions you can use to boost business operations.
Financial analysis and planning software
This software is used for planning, creating accurate forecasts, and budgeting.
Financial planning software examples:
Portfolio presentation software
You can use this software to track managed assets and showcase the results to present them to clients.
Portfolio presentation software examples:
This software will help you manage client relationships, collect client information, and automate communication processes.
CRM software examples:
- Ugru Financial
- Tamarac CRM
Video conferencing software
Use this software to hold online video meetings with your clients and to consult your team if necessary.
Video conferencing software examples:
Want to learn more about solutions that can level up your financial consulting business? Check out the 14 top software solutions for wealth managers!
#5 Avoid overworking yourself and burnout
According to O.C.Tanner report, when you feel less connected to your workplace, burnout increases by 11 times. Moreover, 69% of those who work from home experience burnout symptoms. Providing financial advising services remotely can lead to constant stress, as you may keep working even when you’re off, and the difference between weekends and weekdays becomes blurred.
You should know that burnout often lasts from three months to a year, and it’s difficult to beat. That’s why when you think about your home office setup, you have to be careful to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
To prevent burnout, make sure you:
- add breaks into your schedule
- exercise regularly
- have a set daily routine
- create and maintain your boundaries
Following these recommendations will help you stay productive while you work at home for many years.
Establishing a home office and switching entirely or partially to remote work is often a step that can help your business grow. When making the transition, you must reduce any chance of burnout or poor client experience. In this article, we created a list of tips that explains what you need to set up a home office in terms of hardware, software, and facilitation. Use these recommendations to work from home, and subscribe to our newsletter to get more tips on providing financial advice online.