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Thought Leadership in Action

How Financial Advisors Are Adjusting to Remote and Hybrid Work

The pandemic forced businesses to adapt their work processes for a virtual environment — opening more opportunities for financial advisors.

An October 2021 pulse survey from Insperex found that many financial advisors are open to virtual processes moving forward, even as others are moving back to in-person operations. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly three-quarters of respondents (68%) have adopted virtual meetings and 65% have adopted flexible work-from-home arrangements, according to the survey.

Here’s how financial advisors are continuing to acclimate to remote work solutions in a hybrid future.

Workplace Practices Continue to Evolve

There’s no longer any single standard for work processes in any industry, and financial advisory firms are no exception. Workplace norms are still evolving as financial advisors experiment with different levels of hybrid work.

Many advisory firms are embracing long-term hybrid work, but haven’t yet settled on standard guidelines for when to head to the office and when to log in from home. And many firms may opt not to put limits on workplace norms and embrace complete flexibility instead.

Rather than simply shifting office operations to a remote environment, some financial services organizations are embracing human-centric design — prioritizing flexibility, collaboration, and empathy-based management. And that radical redesign is paying off, with human-centric firms seeing a 28% rise in overall employee performance in 2021, Gartner reports.

These financial advisory firms are taking advantage of disruption to catapult their businesses into success.

Client Communication Is Permanently Changed

Client expectations are a significant factor in setting norms for the future of financial advising.  

Evolving client communication practices help financial advisors meet their clients on their terms, theoretically supporting a better client experience. 

But, in practice, financial advisors haven’t been managing client communications during the pandemic as effectively as they’ve believed, a recent survey from the Financial Planning Association found. Since the switch to remote work, financial planners rated themselves higher on their ability to understand client values and their attitudes and beliefs towards money (among others) than their clients did. The disconnect signals that advisors need to find more effective methods for getting to know their clients than simply replicating in-person conversations over video calls.

But, despite the inconsistency, clients still demonstrate a preference for virtual meetings, the report continues. To bridge the gap without sacrificing convenience and flexibility, consider implementing more surveys and written questionnaires to learn your client preferences better.

Remote Work Opens New Opportunities — and Potential Disadvantages — for Women

A continued trend towards remote and hybrid work opens more possibilities for female advisors — as well as advisors of color or those with disabilities — to grow their business and client base while maintaining a flexible schedule.

But as larger firms return to more in-person operations, there’s a risk that advisors from historically excluded groups opting to remain home may be overlooked. 

The intentionality of human-centric organizational design, however, mitigates this risk by building conscious touchpoints and collaborations with advisors across the workforce into daily agendas.

Evolving workplace norms offer your advisory firm an opportunity to revise and optimize operations to promote the best outcomes for both you and your clients.


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