“Pack up your things, get as much as you can, we’re working from home. See you on Zoom”
While many industries were early adopters of the “Work From Home” lifestyle, the financial services industry was certainly not one of them. We were used to being in the office every day and this is all we knew. As COVID picked up steam, and an attempt to slow the spread kept folks at home, working remotely became the only option to serve our clients. It took a few months to get used to this new routine, but we ultimately adapted to the situation. We invested in virtual meeting software, created at-home office set ups, and got to work.
After almost two years of exclusively working from home, we are able to return to the office. But, just as it took energy to develop a remote work routine at the beginning of the pandemic, returning to the office also required us to readjust our routines. As our team became more comfortable and, in some ways, more efficient working from home, we missed and realized the value of seeing our clients in the office. At the same time we were adjusting to our new normal with work from home, all of our clients were learning to use Zoom with family, friends, and doctors too. It quickly became apparent that a balance of working from home and working in the office would be our new normal.
In order to fully embrace this hybrid work balance, we implemented a number of technological tools to allow us to continue to operate efficiently. Here are some highlights of a few of these tools.
Zoom is no longer a novel concept by any means. Love it or hate it, it is now one of the most prevalent communication tools. It allows us to meet with clients, and each other, whenever we want and from any location. While many of our clients enjoy coming into the office for our meetings, there is also something to be said for cutting down commute times by opting for Zoom meetings. Oakwood Wealth Partners used Zoom before 2020 but has further embraced it in the past year. Our new office is equipped with two Zoom Rooms. These Rooms allow our entire team to be in a single conference room at once while meeting with clients who are remote.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. There is a lot of paperwork in our day to day. After developing a plan and coming up with implementation items with our clients, there are numerous documents that need to be signed in order to put the plan into action. In previous years, this paperwork needed to be physically signed. This meant that our team was presenting our clients with large stacks of paper to sign or mailing large bundles of paperwork out for signature. It got the job done, but it certainly was not the most efficient way to do so. By adopting DocuSign, we have transitioned the majority of our paperwork signing to an electronic format.
The eMoney Portal is another tool that our group implemented within the past couple of years. This software allows for a collaborative planning environment where our clients can track their progress as we move through the planning process. The portal provides the convenience of a standard account consolidation software with powerful financial planning tools that allow our team to deliver creative design ideas to our clients.
The vast majority of our client meetings are done with multiple advisors present. This allows us to take a true “team approach” to financial planning for our clients. But, more people involved means there are more calendars that need to be coordinated. A task as seemingly simple as scheduling meetings can often times become complicated. Calendly provides a link that allows clients to view available time slots for their advising team. Once they find a time that works for them, they can click and schedule their meeting.
Lastly, many of you may have heard about our new office space. For those who have not yet seen it, the new office truly provides an enhanced experience for both our clients, as well as our team. We are now operating out of a state-of-the-art business center equipped with all the features you’d expect from a modern financial planning firm: brand new buildings along the hills of Irvine, a beautiful campus, a gym within a stone’s throw, restaurants and coffee shops onsite, standing desks, large office windows, contemporary office furniture, and even a swimming pool (Kevin is planning on breaking the pool in soon). You may also see a puppy in the office from time to time.
The technology that we’ve deployed integrates this modern atmosphere with the newest technology available to create a unique experience for our clients. Zoom Rooms have increased our ability to meet with folks, DocuSign has simplified the paperwork process, eMoney has provided increased insight into the financial planning process, and Calendly has made scheduling time with the advising team easier.
Our goal is to always provide the best experience to our clients. We appreciate the trust our clients place into our hands. We hope you know that we are here for you and constantly strive to make your experience better. Finances can be scary and complicated. We hope to be a firm you can lean on.
Nick Lockwood, CA Insurance License #0M83310, is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln Marketing and Insurance Agency, LLC and Lincoln Associates Insurance Agency, Inc. and other fine companies. 17400 Laguna Canyon Road, Suite 125, Irvine, CA 92618, Phone: (949) 341-4188. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp does not provide legal or tax advice. Oakwood Wealth Partners is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. CRN-5079121-110222