Using Technology when Working from Home

If your organization has implemented or is preparing to implement work from home (WFH) policies, technology can help you maintain close relationships with your clients and colleagues.

Here are a few suggestions for how to keep your business on track. 

  • Get comfortable with video chat. Since face-to-face meetings may be put on hold for a while, video conferencing can be a great solution. Whichever software you choose, be sure to test it before using it with a client, and know that you may need to invest a few minutes at the start of every meeting getting clients comfortable with the technology. 
  • Keep your appointments (even with prospects). Especially given all that’s going on in the markets, clients need to know they can count on their advisor. Reach out well in advance of upcoming meetings to let them know that your organization has implemented WFH policy and provide the dial in information (preferably with video chat). 
  • Don’t hide behind a blank screen. Even if your clients choose to have their camera turned off, yours should always be on so they can see your body language, know that you’re not distracted, and see your passion and commitment. 
  • Match the communication format to the issue. For unscheduled conversations, consider the best communication format based on factors such as the sense of urgency or the complexity of the topic. Long email chains can be frustrating for everyone involved. Picking up the phone is often the speediest course of action, and having a video component can be helpful. 
  • Make your presence known in group meetings. In group meetings, be sure you remain present and are actively listening to the discussion. Participating in meetings via video helps ensure you remain focused, allows you to raise your hand if you have a question, and helps others know you are engaged. 
  • Create an environment at home that is conducive to work. Try to set up a quiet, dedicated workspace and consider how you'll take calls. Keep to your normal business schedule as much as possible. Shower, get dressed, and take a short walk to “commute” to the office before settling in for the day. 
  • Minimize distractions. Distractions can be a major issue, so be ready to make adjustments to avoid them. If you have others in the house, talk about 'office etiquette' including when it is appropriate to interrupt, what it means when you have headphones on, etc. 
  • Keep teamwork and collaboration alive. Allow for time for collaboration and relationship-building, even if you have to schedule it. Make full use of any collaborative tools you have access to. Google Docs, for example, are a great way to get clarity, gather input, and gain consensus without an in-person meeting. 
  • Communicate more frequently with your team. Don’t ignore the need to keep in close contact with your team. Check in with one another at the beginning and end of each day so everyone knows when you're on- and offline. Being less visible to one another makes it even more important to keep each other in-the-know. Maintain a sense of transparency by discussing what you're doing, sharing your work-in-progress, and keeping everyone in the loop before they wonder how you’re spending your time.